12 April 2012
Is Facebook Even Worth It?
Social networking has become one of the most popular ways of communication among people all around the world. Although there are many different social networking sites on the web, Facebook is the most popular. In fact, with over 500 million users, Facebook is the second most visited site on the internet, next to Google. 70% of all web audience has a Facebook page and over 50% of users log on daily. Many people waste hours upon hours of their days scrolling through their news feed, updating their status, and posting pictures of their lives for their friends to see. All of this seems harmless, but do users really understand the negative effects that Facebook usage can have on them? Many studies have shown that an overuse of Facebook can cause depression, anxiety, antisocial disorders, privacy concerns, obesity, and a decline in school work for teens.
Depression and Anxiety are two conditions that can be caused by overusing Facebook. This is especially prominent in teenagers and women. Facebook allows us to control the way others perceive our lives. We are the power behind every status, picture, and post dealing with our personal lives. Therefore, it is easy to paint a false picture of our lives and our happiness for the world of Facebook to view. Many Facebook “friends” post only the best pictures of themselves, the most accomplished biographies, and the happiest statuses. Users spend massive amounts of time sifting through their tagged photos and their posts in order to let only the best be seen by their friends and family. Even though this seems harmless, it becomes a problem for users because it can cause people viewing this “perfect profile” to become unhappy with their lives. People compare their lives to that of their facebook friends and feel unhappy or unsatisfied with their own lives; in turn, causing depression among users. Alex Jordan, a Ph.D. student in Stanford's psychology department, conducted a study to prove that Facebook makes others feel that their lives are insufficient compared to friends. “Jordan and his fellow researchers asked 80 freshmen to report whether they or their peers had recently experienced various negative and positive emotional events. Time and time again, the subjects underestimated how many negative experiences their peers were having. They also overestimated how much fun these same peers were having” (Copeland). Facebook has also been linked to depression because it provides a false sense of connection. People feel connected to others while on the site, and feel involved with a large amount of people, or “friends”, as it is much easier to communicate through the internet, than in person. This false sense of connection often intensifies the feeling of loneliness for those that are already lonely. People that have little or no friends may feel unsecure about their life after viewing the “After posting their lives for their friends to see and to judge, people have come to use Facebook to gauge not only their relationships, but also their level of importance”(Aransen). This leads to anxiety because users struggle to feel important. People are constantly comparing themselves to others and trying to measure up to their peers; Facebook intensifies this issue and causes depression among users.
Facebook also causes anxiety in users. Anxiety is described as any feeling of stress or worry, also an eagerness to do something. Facebook causes stress among its population in many different ways. People become stressed when they are away from their account and do not know what others are doing, also people often find themselves worrying about what others are posting about them or if they have new notifications. In a study done by Dr. Kathy Charles and her team of Psychologists at Edinburgh Napier University, users “were anxious about withdrawing from the site for fear of missing important social...
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