Nov 07 2011

Facebook Depression: Is It Affecting You?

I was speaking to a group of friends this past weekend at a small get together. It was an interesting round of discussions. From politics to the economy, we seemed to touch on everything. Then, one of my friends brought up a new topic which I was unaware of: Facebook Depression. It seemed like other friends were more aware of this term. Maybe because they are on the social networking sites much more than I am. Anyway, after a bit of research, it is apparent that there is a definite depressive disorder that is associated with Facebook and this may extend to all of the social networking web sites. Actually all of these social networking sites are a kind of bulletin board for your life-if you want them to be. People post pictures of everything they are doing the moment they do it. Family events, play dates, dates, special events, non special events and just about everything in between. There are pictures of people just waking up in the morning. How is that interesting? And not only pictures, but a blow by blow description of exactly what they are doing. “Having cornflakes and coffee for breakfast.” “Going to the bathroom.” Okay-so why do we need to know these facts? I am not sure-but it’s posted for the world to see. And not only do you know what everyone is doing, where they are doing it and with whom, but you can see how many friends each person has. It used to be that the norm would be two or three close friends. Now some people have hundreds of friends. Wow, it can make you feel like no one wants to be with you with your measly two friends. That alone is depressing. Does everyone have hundreds of friends? I don’t think so. And let’s talk about the photos of these friends-skiing, having dinner in exotic places, at parties, all having so much fun! Well, not everyone. Now, kids are tuning in to the networking sites and seeing what parties they were not invited to and then seeing the photos of the kids at the parties having a great time. That could really be depressing. And if that’s not enough, the child that is sitting at home, clicks on the site only to see his friend at the movies with another friend, and he wasn’t invited! Oh, did I mention that you can add photos from your phone!!!

And finally, what about the “likes” button. This is a button on some sites that when pushed indicates that you like the photo or blurb that is posted on someone’s site. What if you get zero” likes”? What if you get “likes” one day and then the next day everyone “dislikes” it?  There are people out there that are depressed because no one pushed the “likes” button for their photos. Come on people-don’t we have enough daily ego bruising to deal with?

It’s now obvious to me that this new technology can be a cause of depression, harassment, bullying and even suicide. Where will it stop? Yes, parents need to be involved-directly involved. Every parent needs to see what their child is doing on the social networking sites. Every parent needs to be aware and not assume that their child is okay. It’s okay to be concerned! And this “likes” button-in my opinion-this needs to be eliminated. With our technology driven kids. From their laptops to their phones, all of our kids are connected and wired. Have you ever seen a group of kids standing around or sitting-most of them will be looking down at their phones? There is a real lack of actual conversation. They could be standing next to each other and they choose texting over talking. What! And some, if not most will be on a social networking site-seeing what other people are doing or posting or have done or will do or whatever! It’s never ending. Kids wake up to see what is posted and don’t go to bed unless they have checked out the last photo that was uploaded and the last comment posted.

Depression, yes my friends, we are at the tip of the iceberg-this new techno socialization is creating massive amounts of behavioral issues. Parents-stay involved and don’t assume. Watch what your child is doing on the web. Become a friend on these sites to monitor the action. We need to be aware of the signs of depression that can come from these web sites.  And if that’s not enough to think about, many companies will look at an individual’s social web site before hiring, AND most if not all colleges, have a tech person on their admissions committee, assigned and devoted to investigating every potential candidate to see what is on their social networking sites.   

So my friends, don’t let this new techo evolution overwhelm you. Remember to exercise every day. Remember to eat healthy! Be aware. Increase your fruit and veggie intake.   Let me know your thoughts.

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