The Pros and Cons of Facebook
By the end of 2015, it was estimated that Facebook has over 1.5 billion monthly active users (Wolfe, 2017). This staggering amount of traffic simply shows how much consumer base the website has, which is significantly higher than other SNSs platforms out there. As of today, it is estimated that 1 out of 5 people in the world has visited their Facebook accounts for 1 week and that number continues to grow. Now, this poses the question, is this increasing amount of Facebook consumers a good or bad thing? On one hand, a number of individuals believe that consuming/using Facebook entails a lot of advantages especially for educational, and communicative, and even business purposes. According to them, by using the website, people could learn easily about almost any topic out there which includes the daily events that are happening worldwide. Aside from being informative, these individuals also believe that the site allows them to communicate with individuals with their own niche through the use of Facebook Groups as well as help them in marketing their services. On the other hand, a group of people also believes that Facebook is nothing short of a distraction and provides a lot of negative effects including both mental, emotional, and even physiological distresses. On one study done by an international team of researchers found out that aside from causing mild depression and anxiety, Facebook could affect one’s self-esteem (MedicalNewsToday, 2013). According to their reports, the main reason for the website’s effect on one’s self-esteem is the fact that most of post of other people that they could see on their walls shows either a successful, fun, or fulfilled lives of others, while in reality these people also has problems and simply shows what is “ideal and pleasing”. Another setback of consuming Facebook, according to researchers, is that it makes graphic and negative themes available even for children. Today, gore photos, videos, and even messages could be accessed and consumed by children and could affect how their psychological and emotional well-being. Lastly, these “anti-Facebook groups” would also pose the harmful effects of Facebook addiction. According to them, an uncontrollable consumption of Facebook is now prevalent amongst individuals both young and old. This poses serious threats for them both physiologically, mentally, and emotionally, among others. In line with this preceding theme about Facebook addiction, the author of this article would further discuss about what Facebook addiction is and what are its negative effects towards individuals. Following from the points stated above, the author of this article believes that while Facebook addiction could pose serious health risks to a person, just the right amount could help in promoting his well-being especially in for his mental well-being.
What is Facebook Addiction
Unlike how it sounds like, defining what Facebook addiction is and knowing its symptoms is not as easy as it sounds like. One might argue that he/she is not addicted, and is only consuming a few hours every week in browsing the SNS platform. Although there are a lot of variations in studies, with different measures on how can one tell if an individual is addicted or not, for this article we would employ a rather rudimentary measure stated by Poh (n.d.). According to him, the “Seven tell-tale signs” that a person is addicted to Facebook are; (1) Oversharing, (2) Checking FB always, (3) Overly concerned with FB image, (4) Reporting on FB, (5) Spending hours browsing, (6) Mad Rush to add more friends, and (7) Compromising Offline Social life.
Negative Effects of Facebook Addiction
As stated earlier in this article, too much consumption of Facebook is detrimental especially for one’s health and well-being. Perhaps, some of the most negatively affected aspects of our life during overconsumption is our physical, emotional, and social life. For the first aspect (physical) it was found out that most of the people who are overly consuming Facebook has less time for exercise and even forgets their meals. As an example, it was found out that people who regularly logs in their social media accounts are more susceptible to physical risks with stress and sleeping disorders as some of the main reasons (Dailymail.co.uk, 2012).
For our second aspect – emotional – the main reason why too much consumption of Facebook could prove to be detrimental is mainly because of its effect towards one’s expectation in life, among others. based on studies, people who browses Facebook too much gets a glimpse of other people’s good life and creates a mental picture that others have “all the good stuff” and creates an expectation for themselves. Since most of the posts that they could view in their Facebook accounts do not show the negative sides of others, these expectations becomes too much that it is unachievable and this is what proves to be detrimental for one’s emotional health.
Amongst the effects of Facebook in the aspects of our lives, the most debated one is its effect on our Social lives. This is because as social media and other Social Networking Platforms gain more popularity and power, the line between physical and media-mediated socializations becomes blurred. Due to this, most people would argue that since Facebook has came, they have been able to socialize (media-mediated means) more, as compared to the time when these platforms cease to exist. On the other hand, most people would argue that this kind of socialization is not ‘unique’ and as fulfilling as a physical interpersonal communication.
Positive Effects of Regular Facebook Consumption
One of the advantages of media for its consumers is openness and knowledge dissemination. Because anyone could post their own take on different sides of the same issue freely, consumers become open with the different possibilities and opinions and realize the footing of these different people and what causes their perspectives. More specifically, it was the advent of social media that prompted this openness unlike mass media which could be controlled by established powers in the society for their own gains. This then, benefits the social and emotional well-being of an individual because he/she becomes open to the perspectives of other people. Aside from being informed, another positive effects of Facebook are that Facebook could help people to network and find positive support groups for the things that they like to do in life. Musicians could find other musicians, artists could find other artists, doctors to other doctors, and so on and so forth. Although, it was stated earlier that Facebook could be detrimental to one’s social life, this is only when most of the interactions that are happening goes through these social media platforms. As one learns to balance his media-related and personal interaction in both Facebook and interpersonal life, respectively, he/she would surely benefit from the personal interaction with each and every one.
Although Facebook poses a lot of advantages today, some would say that its negative repercussions could greatly outweigh its benefits. However, the author of this paper believes that these repercussions would only happen in cases when an individual is “Facebook addicted”. But, as people learns to use Facebook in manageable levels, with a correct balance with their Facebook usage and their physical life, this social media platform could become a great avenue for better interpersonal, physical, emotional, and even spiritual development.
- (2012, July 18). Retrieved from Dailymail.co.uk: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2175230/Too-time-online-lead-stress-sleeping-disorders-depression.html
- MedicalNewsToday. (2013, September 16). Esteem issues determine how people put their best Facebook forward. Retrieved from MedicalNewsToday: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/266076.php
- Poh, M. (n.d.). 7 Telltale Signs of Facebook Addiction. Retrieved from Hongkiat.com: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/facebook-addiction-signs/
- Wolfe, L. (2017, May 12). How Many People Use Facebook Worldwide? Retrieved from TheBalance.com: https://www.thebalance.com/how-many-people-use-facebook-3515067