facebook mental health risk
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Is using Facebook good or bad for us? The biggest social media company has tried to provide the much-needed but indecisive answer to this question before it gets too late. A blog post by Facebook researchers highlights the good and bad effects of social media platforms in our lives.

One positive effect is that the people engaged in “actively interacting with people” (posts, comments, messages with close friends) show greater signs of improved well-being than the ones involved in passively consuming content like scrolling through the news feed.

Also Read: 10 Reasons Why People Use Facebook

Adverse effects of social media interaction can be observed in the case of people who view the content uploaded by others more often. People who clicked four times as many links than an average person or hit like buttons almost twice went through worse mental health than an average person, according to a Yale University survey. It could be hypothesized that reading about others leads to negative social comparison.

However, having more one-to-one interactions and for people who exchanged more comments, messages, and timeline posts with friends, it was easier to get over depression and loneliness.

Another experiment claims browsing one’s own Facebook timeline boosts the feeling of self-affirmation which comes from the recollection of meaningful interactions from the past.

In short, the post seems to revolve around the point that using Facebook isn’t all bad, and our mental well-being depends on “how you use social media.”

Social media and mobile technology is a rising cause of depression among teens, notes psychologist Jean Twenge, according to the blog post. Kids today are spending a lot of time in front of screens, and it’s unclear what “connection” would mean 15 years down the line. In a Ted talk, psychologist Sherry Turkle asserted that mobile devices are redefining modern relationships and making people “alone together.”

One accusation people put against technology is it distracts people from real-life social interactions. The blog post defends it by citing a sociologist’s study of public spaces which says that people spend more time in public now. They tend to use cell phones more when they’re alone at public places, rather than ignoring friends.

What can be done?

The post said that efforts are being made to “make Facebook more about social interaction and less about spending time.” That seems a bit unusual to hear about a company that was built to exploit the bugs in the human brain and make people glued to the social network.

However, it’s still somewhat assuring to hear that the social networking giant has acknowledged their bad influence on people. But up to what extent Facebook will allow people to spend less time?

Facebook has rolled out a couple of tools. Snooze allows Facebook users to mute a person or Page for up to 30 days without the need of unfollowing or unfriending them.

Another tool called Take a Break helps people who have ended their relationship, allowing them to stop seeing content related to their exes and control what the exes can look on their profile. There is also a suicide prevention tool to help people in need.

Moving further, if you think the situation has become intolerable, you might consider deactivating your social media accounts for a while or permanently delete your Facebook account. But that might be too hard for some people; one workaround could be taking a break from the internet for a while.

What are your views on Facebook and social media in general? Drop your thoughts in the comments.

Also Read: Smartphone Addiction Causes Imbalance In Brain Chemistry, Says Study

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