Social media has become so much a part of our lives. Facebook, in particular, has dominated the scene. Indeed, the social media platform boasts of over 1.8 billion users worldwide. For many of them, Facebook is the main source of information. They use it to get clued in on world news or their relatives and friends’ lives. A study shows, though, that using Facebook is making people feel bad.
With the rise of Facebook’s popularity, people have joked that it has brought out some of people’s not-so-nice qualities. For instance, people with low self-esteem compensate for it with their narcissistic Facebook posts. Others have become Facebook trolls who spread fake news and malign others. There are also scammers targeting Facebook users.
People spend an average of 50 minutes a day on Facebook.
Meanwhile, some Facebook users are plagued by the fear of missing out. The term — which goes by the acronym FoMO — is now so ingrained into popular culture that a team of US researchers have actually dissected it. TIME magazine cited the study’s definition of FoMO as “the uneasy and sometimes all-consuming feeling that you’re missing out — that your peers are doing, in the know about, or in possession of more or something better than you.”
We often fail to realize how FB has changed us — not always for the better.
Apparently, the FoMO phenomenon may lead to even more serious emotional and psychological issues. As it turns out, the American Journal of Epidemiology published the results of another Facebook-focused study done by the University of California, San Diego and the Yale University’s Human Nature Lab. Their scholarly probe — titled “Association of Facebook Use with Compromised Well-Being: A Longitudinal Study” — used data from 5,208 subjects who used social media regularly.
Many use FB as a stage where they only show their "best performance."
The research found out that “constant exposure to the carefully curated images from others’ lives” cause people to engage in “negative self-comparison.” Case in point: The photos showing a person’s Facebook friends enjoying their success may make a person feel bad because he or she doesn’t have the same thing. It’s basically envy gone digital.
More and more people log on to Facebook no matter where they are.
Aside from making people feel bad about their supposedly less-than-fabulous existence, the study pointed out that Facebook also isolates people from real interaction. In fact, Holly Shakya of the University of California, San Diego and Nicholas Christakis with the Human Nature Lab at Yale University told CNBC:
“While screen time in general can be problematic, the tricky thing about social media is that while we are using it, we get the impression that we are engaging in meaningful social interaction. Our results suggest that the nature and quality of this sort of connection is no substitute for the real world interaction we need for a healthy life.”
It's actually not Facebook at fault, it's the user.
While the study didn’t discuss the effects of other social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, it’s most likely that they have the same effect. Of course, the researchers are not saying the use of social media platforms is bad. They’re simply noting that emotional maturity is required for people to use these platforms without feeling depressed.
Important reminder: Don't be a Facebook zombie.
So, what’s the best defense against Facebook-induced depression? Perhaps, people should just be happy for their friends and family members who are enjoying their lives. Surely, Facebook can’t be blamed for people getting depressed. It’s all about seeing life from your own blissful perspective. Look at it this way: You can use Facebook to spread the joy you feel to others as well.
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