Facebook, the father of your virtual life, the pioneer of all social networks, might be bad for your health. Facebook may fascinate during you during the day and make you feel happy, but at the end of the day it ruins your health and saps energy; the energy which could be used in better causes to uplift your daily life. Facebook not only fastens you with internet, hours after hours but makes you tired as well.
THOSE who have resisted the urge to join Facebook will surely feel vindicated when they read the latest research. A study just published by the Public Library of Science, conducted by Ethan Kross of the University of Michigan and Philippe Verduyn of Leuven University in Belgium, has shown that the more someone uses Facebook, the less satisfied they are with life. Facebook becomes the main priority in their lives, and they suddenly give more importance to virtual life than family life. This addiction is obviously not less detrimental than smoking or other type of addictions. And who doesn’t know that excess of anything is bad?
The current study shed light on the delirious effects of Facebook. And it is time that seven million users worldwide know about the demerits. The researchers recruited 82 Facebookers for their study. These volunteers, in their late teens or early 20s agreed to have their Facebook activity observed for two weeks and to report, five times a day, on their state of mind and their direct social contacts (phone calls and meetings in person with other people). These reports were prompted by text messages, sent between 10 am and midnight, asking them to complete a short questionnaire.
When the researchers analyzed the results, they found out that the more a volunteer used Facebook in the period between two questionnaires, the worse he reported feeling the next time he filled in a questionnaire. Volunteers were also asked to rate their satisfaction with life at the start and the end of the study. Those who used Facebook a lot were more likely to report a decline in satisfaction than those who visited the site irregularly. So, Facebook appears to be responsible for anomalies or mood swings in our daily life. In the name of cheap pleasure it may ruin the perfect nuances of life.
In contrast, there was a positive association between the amount of direct social contact a volunteer had and how positive he felt. In other words, the more volunteers socialized in the real world, the more positive they reported feeling the next time they filled in the questionnaire. Their study does not tease out why socializing on Facebook has a different effect from socializing in person.
These Facebook addicted people tend to get sad if they can’t use Facebook for one or two days constantly; behavior change towards family is another dangerous thing to cope up with. Facebook gives a sense of superiority and people get carried away soon having so much attention; but as a whole it appears to do nothing but harm the health and damage the normal social life. The number of ‘likes’ or ‘tags’ has nothing to do with academics. It’s feared that soon face to face conversations will be a thing of the past; people will be more comfortable via FB or Skype. Sad to say, people don’t like to confess their addiction and don’t believe that Facebook is bad for your health.
Past investigations have found that using Facebook is associated with jealousy, social tension, isolation and depression. But these studies have all been “cross-sectional” – in other words, snapshots in time. As such, they risk confusing correlation with causation: perhaps those who spend more time on social media are more prone to negative emotions in the first place. The study conducted by Dr Kross and Dr Verduyn is the first to follow Facebook users for an extended period, to track how their emotions change.
An earlier investigation, conducted by social scientists at Humboldt University and Darmstadt’s Technical University, both in Germany, have found the root cause, apparently. These researchers, who presented their results at a conference in Leipzig in February, surveyed 584 users of Facebook aged mostly in their 20s. They found that the most common emotion aroused by using Facebook is “green envy”. Endlessly comparing themselves with peers who have doctored their photographs, amplified their achievements and plagiarized their bon mots can leave Facebook’s users more than a little green-eyed. Real-life encounters, by contrast, are more WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get).
What neither study proves is whether all this is true only for younger users of Facebook. Older ones may be more mellow, and thus less begrudging of their friends’ successes, counterfeit or real. Maybe.
So, believe it or not, Facebook is bad for your health. Facebook may fascinate you with new friends, it may expose the frivolous side of you, you may join with white-feathered friends but in the long run it ravages your life in many ways. A little bit of virtual life is good, but it should not ruin your health; it should not stress you in the name of stress-buster. And don’t forget, Facebook is a fair-weather friend.
Written by: Jayeeta Shamsul