All in the mind!

Being a Facebook buff myself, I always wondered if Facebook had any effect on the users’ physical and mental health, if there’s something like that. I decided to browse wide and far; luckily (?), I almost immediately found an article which opined that Facebook profiles might expose some kinds of mental illness.

To be really honest, I am a little disappointed with the supposed findings of the study. How about you?  I read it twice over, but all I could understand is, introverts had few friends on Facebook friends list and extroverts had more friends. Duh!!

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As far as I know, online social networking started with Orkut (Correct me if I’m wrong), then it expanded its horizons with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest, Socializr, Reddit, Zanga and many more.We are the first generation of social media users. Yay! Initially, me and a lot of my friends were a little apprehensive about sharing information on social sites but eventually we warmed up to it. Then we slowly reconnected with long lost buddies through mutual friends, tagged photos, posts made visible by likes- there was no stopping us. Once we built our nests and established colonies with kids young and old, on this huge virtual tree, we suddenly realize something’s amiss. Privacy, security! The uncomfortable feeling of being under scrutiny everytime there is a picture posted or a photo tagged. We are still relishing the simplicity of nurturing relationships across the globe. But the other side of it is slowly unfolding and it is a little scary to know we are unprepared for it.

You know what I’d like to find out in a future study?

  • A study on how Facebook is influencing family as a social structure.
  • How are the relationship dynamics in the society changing in terms of personal interactions vis-a-vis virtual ones?
  • How is Facebook affecting the mindsets of the  older teens?
  • Is there a way to teach younger users about the complexity of social media connections and setting boundaries especially because they are now easy to make and break?

Do you agree? Why or why not?

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5 thoughts on “All in the mind!

  1. I appreciate your addressing this topic, and all of the thoughtful questions that you have posed. However, I had to laugh a little, when I actually read the article. I can hardly consider someone’s opinion, even a researcher’s opinion, of an individual’s Facebook page as grounds, or a diagnostic tool to make a determination of mental illness. I frankly feel that this issue is like most situations, it is significantly more about the interpretation of the observer, and not so much about the actual observed object.The article seemed to promote, what I would consider, a narrow global opinion, and not anything that resembled a clinical study, or clinical data. The article did, however, seem to be more inclined to give permission to make broad sweeping discriminatory generalizations about an individual based upon their creative expression. I personally, would caution against that. Now, would I wonder about an individual who posts or promotes graphic violence, for example? Or, other questionable material outside the scope of society’s norms? Yes, I probably would. I would agree that some behavior might render some red flags, and should probably be an indicator of mental illness, and if so, should be addressed. But, I certainly would not be so quick to start lumping people into a mental health category based on their Facebook page. Facebook is merely a representation of an individual, and certainly is not a definitive view of the individual, their values, or their life. I post items about quantum physics, the theory of entanglement, how that relates to consciousness, how that potentially impacts the way that we communicate, all bordering very closely to telepathy.This is all based on cutting edge science, quantum mechanics theory proposed by some of our greatest minds, but according to this article, that could also very easily perceived as mental illness. So, again, it is all perspective, isn’t it? I also want to emphatically support the idea of free speech here…… and caution people to tread very, very lightly, always promoting the ideals of free expression for everyone. Final note, what we post is definitely out there, and if you don’t think so, here is a website (that tracks post histories) that may be of interest to you. http://archivedbook.com/ So, if you think that you can post, and that you are not seen by others, you are incorrect. I am sure there are multiple sites that track post histories. If you post it, be prepared to own it! I personally have made a decision to own my own voice, be who I am, because basically, with me, what you see is what you get, and hopefully, I hope to align my voice with other like minded individuals, and I suppose it can be perceived by others……….however they wish.
    .

  2. Interesting questions, I find that Facebook keeps me more in touch and informed with family and friends that I probably did not have access to in the past. Hearing the recent comments from passengers on the stranded cruise ship really was reveling saying that: “Many felt very disconnected without a phone, twitter, facebook, etc. at first. But after sometime on the ship they found that they were really communicating and connecting with people”. What does that say?

    Does that mean we are communicating more but from an artificial sense? There is so much data out there on face book and it just needs to be processed for your answers. A current problem is we do not have enough data scientists to unravel the answers. Of course that would be my guess.

    • It’s all a balance. Knowing what your friends are doing and connecting to them in a meaningful way can be two different things. However, I have also had some really meaningful interactions and gotten insight into some people’s lives that I would not have done otherwise without FB. All things in moderation.

  3. Some of the questions you identified for future research are already being addressed. A search for the words “Facebook research family teens” yields pages and pages of research and articles. One article that summarizes a number of concerns is “The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families” from the American Academy of Pediatricians.
    Below is a sampling of some of the research/articles the search yielded:
    “Facebook Can Make Teens Sick” PC World
    “Facebook Use May Lead to Psychological Disorders in Teens” Mashable
    “Facebook Depression Affecting Teens” CP Tech
    “Teens’ Behavior on Facebook Is Antisocial” Pew Research Center
    “Kids Who Use Facebook Do Worse in School” Time: Health and Family
    “Teens on Facebook and Social Media Sites More Likely to Drink” Pew Internet and American Life Project
    Remember–When reviewing research articles, check the researcher’s background (education, credibility, potential biases), the funding source, the methodology, and whether or not the research has been published in a respected juried journal. Also, remember that research should stand the tests of time and further research.
    These topics will probably be subjects for many future research projects!!!

  4. My wife found herself interacting meaninglessly with people she did not know or care to know, so she dropped out of it altogether. I have a facebook site and never use it. The compromise: she now ghosts my site. She interacts with family and does not waste time on trivial people and things.

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