Facebook might not be your best avenue to make friends after all! Three new research studies have found this social networking site can actually be harmful to your mental health! While adding a new friend or picture makes people feel happy and connected, other Facebook actions can result in feels of inadequacy.
These studies have found that Facebook itself is not tough on mental health, but it does provide a place for people to indulge in self destructive behavior, broadcasting weaknesses, and comparing achievements or social statuses to others.
For example, look at Status Updates. As most people know, these are carefully calculated posts aimed to show one’s Facebook friends just how awesome their lives are. When people with lots of Facebook friends were asked about their achievements, they scored themselves lower after recently browsing through Facebook as opposed to the people who hadn’t visited the site.
This goes both ways. Some people don’t use status updates for boasting, and instead use them to complain. People with low self esteem use Facebook as an outlet for hating on their lives, and the people in it. These type of people find it easier to express feelings via the internet as opposed to face to face interactions. After testing, it was found that people responded with more positivity to posters with positive updates. Not very surprising, who wants a Debbie Downer!
Another study on college students found time spent of the social networking site Facebook is linked to symptoms of depression. Keep in mind, that does NOT mean Facebook leads to depression. However, it means lots of Facebooking and depressed feelings have frequent patterns. This study focused on men comparing themselves to each other, which in turn led to experiencing depressive symptoms.