Facebook: Mental Help or Harm?

Jan 10, 2014

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Remember the term "book worm?" Perhaps it could be aptly changed to "Facebook worm." More people are spending plenty of hours on the social network without taking breaks, going outside, or interacting with others face-to-face.

While modern technology provides numerous benefits, it also has drawbacks. The majority of our friendships and communications are occurring more heavily online than in person. People find it easier to express their thoughts and concerns through Facebook, thoughts and concerns that they admit they would not divulge face-to-face. 

Are "friends" made through Facebook really friends?  Typical Facebook "friend" count ranges from 100 and 1,000 friends. However, most of these "friends" are acquaintances or friends of friends and even persons unknown, with no real bond between the two parties. The "friendship" becomes even more loose when considering people can create multiple accounts and add friends that they have never seen or met before. 

Does this mean that spending more time with Facebook friends damages our relationships with friends in the real world? It certainly harms how we communicate as a society. People are becoming isolated, sitting alone for hours and chatting with strangers by computer. 

While sharing pictures and experiences through Facebook has been shown to relieve stress, people need to remember to do so in moderation. It's good to be connected to real friends, but not plugged into cyber strangers. 

Overusing Facebook does not indicate a danger of mental illness or health problems. Most people can cut back on their usage by placing limits or boundaries on their time. For those who struggle to kick the addiction, they may need additional help through medicine, doctors, or lifestyle changes. 

People use Facebook as a release, to express concerns or opinions. When a status, photo, or comment is liked, it can relieve stress or validate a person. While it is healthy and beneficial to express yourself, people should also look to have stimulating conversations face-to-face. Personal communication benefits are greater than online communication. 

When children participate in Facebook, there are dangers with online communication – people say and do things they would not do in person and there are  predators with fake profiles who seek to prey on unsuspecting youth. 

To enjoy the positives of social networking and avoid the dangers, Net Nanny Social enables parents to monitor their child's friends, pics, and posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn.