Facebook is a social media site that we use to keep in touch with friends and family about what’s going on in our lives. Although it can be a good thing, the site can affect our mental health. Read to find out more.
Vacation trips, celebrations, engagements, weddings, promotions, and new babies are common things we find in Facebook. People who post these highlights may garner hundreds or thousands of likes, which make you wonder about Facebook. While celebrating with others is a good thing, there may be also a flip side to these kinds of posts that can affect us psychologically.
According to a recent study, people may experience mental health effects if they spend too much time using social media. Such sites may have turned our lives into a form of entertainment for others. Since we often see updates of what people do, some of us may compare or covet the lives of others.
There may be other reasons why people should cut back on social media sites such as Facebook. This may lead us to question if there are reasons to hate Facebook, reasons which may include:
We may only see highlight reels of other people’s lives.
One major way Facebook may affect one’s mental health is the very nature of the social media platform. People often do not post about bad days or mundane things that happen in their lives.
Sites such as Facebook often feature highlights in life that only occasionally happen. Despite that, we may compare our lives to these events. Though it is not necessarily a bad thing to hear good news from other people, if we make comparisons, we may feel jealous, depressed, or conceited, depending on the circumstances.
We may experience drops in productivity.
What’s a common guilty pleasure in the digital age? Spending too much time on social media. The nature of Facebook is addicting. Seeing likes, comments, and other reactions from others may give us a dopamine-like high.
Many people give in to this gratification instead of productively doing something else. Yes, leisure time is essential, but there are other activities that can help you improve yourself while achieving something of value.
We may find fake news everywhere.
Although Facebook has resolved to remove fake news from its site, there are still countless sources that spread misinformation. It can be toxic, especially when people post political biases or scathing opinions that can affect other people.
To prevent fake news from entering your feed, examine the authority of the links and check sources in search engines. Viral posts are not the same as authentic ones. Only post information from reputable websites and avoid linking to sources that contain spam or other malicious activities.
We may experience the fear of missing out (FOMO).
Another downside of Facebook is that it may give us the feeling of missing out if we are not on it or experiencing the same activities as our friends. Since Facebook can be a common feature of actual conversations, not being on the site may make us feel as if we have to be there to be accepted.
FOMO (fear of missing out) can especially affect young adults and teenagers who always want to be in-the-know about the latest developments in their social circles. What ever happened to the days where we would actually ask others what was going on in their lives?
We may have our privacy compromised.
There are concerns that Facebook has exposed user information to help companies market their products and services and organizations achieve political aims. The most prominent of these issues was the Cambridge Analytica scandal that harvested information from up to 87 million Facebook profiles.
Executives at Cambridge Analytica were involved in the campaign and later administration of U.S. president Donald Trump, so some people claim this Facebook information may have affected the 2016 presidential elections. These breaches in privacy demonstrate how you can never be sure about full privacy once you post information online, so it is always important to be wary about disclosing personal information.
We may experience anxiety and depression.
Excessive use of Facebook can also lead to anxiety and depression. People may misinterpret the things we post. You may be sharing information that is valuable to you, but since there are fewer communication cues to convey meaning, people may interpret your message in different ways.
Different interpretations can lead to negative comments, arguments, and even rumors. This may create a toxic cycle if you frequently use social media sites.
We may become narcissistic.
Sites such as Facebook may be addictive because of their self-promoting nature. When we post stuff online, we often post stuff about ourselves. It may give us a confidence boost when people approve of what we say or think.
There is a possibility to take this too far. We may end up focusing too much on ourselves instead of spending time on causes that create lasting impact for others. The next time you post, you may want to think, “How can this benefit other people?”
We may focus more on our online lives than our real lives.
Have you ever heard of the term influencers? Influencers are people who post popular information on social media sites, such as Facebook. Based on these influential posts, you may notice that you find yourself adjusting your real life so that it mirrors your online life.
Following influencers may be unhealthy because our virtual presence should not be an indicator of our overall life satisfaction. Social media should help improve our actual lives but not direct them. We do not need to alter our actual lives just to portray specific virtual images.
We may develop short attention spans.
Aside from the toxicity that may occur with Facebook and other sites, social media platforms may also affect our attention span. In a single click, it may be easy to achieve the responses that we want.
Carrying these expectations to other areas in our lives may make us feel impatient and drive us to check our smartphones constantly. Many people have admitted that they spend a great deal of time with their eyes glued on the screens of their devices and cannot stand waiting without the distraction of social media.
We may feel isolated.
While Facebook may connect some users, that may not be true for everyone. Some studies indicate that people may feel more isolated when they use social media. Their virtual relationships have minimal value in their actual lives.
Additionally, social media may impede conversations between loved ones. People may post information on Facebook instead of saying it out loud. Social media may alter our social interactions. Unless we minimize its potentially damaging effects, social media may continue to evolve and impact us negatively.
Everything should come in moderation
Although there may be reasons to hate Facebook, remember that moderation is still key. There are still benefits to social media. The power lies in how we use it.