By Rhonda Ramsey,
P.O.V. Contributing Writer
How do you use Facebook? Is it a business tool? A way to connect with family? A way to stay connected with friends? Many people enjoy the opportunity to share deep feelings, personal issues and intimate details -- even embarrassing pictures. I suppose it is fun to open up and share with close friends and acquaintances; but could Facebook be more harmful than good for some?
Did you know that a Harvard study shows that sharing on Facebook and other social media sites delivers a powerful reward to the brain similar to the pleasure from food, getting money and ... sex? I will share some insightful information from cbsnews.com and foxnews.com:
- A staggering, but not surprising, 84 percent of users said Facebook was part of a daily routine. The amount of time spent on Facebook averaged out to about 75.2 minutes.
- "Results showed that Facebook usage had a significant negative relationship with self-esteem," researchers said in the CBS report. "In other words, the results indicated that users who spend more time on Facebook have lower self-esteem."
- But, take those results with a grain of salt. The researchers point out that when they "entered the control variables gender, age, education and income, the relationship between Facebook usage and self-esteem was not significant."
- The main difference was between genders. Women tilted the scale in the usage to lowered self-esteem correlation. Meaning, prolonged Facebook usage tended to make women feel less happy and content with their lives. Men, however, were not affected to the same degree.
- One of the theories behind the discontentment could be the finding that women tended to write more about their thoughts and feeling, while men spent more time provoking others.
- Facebook's initial public offering of stock is likely to make a lot of developers and designers of the site very wealthy. But for many users, frequent Facebooking may not be so beneficial.
- According to three new studies, Facebook can be tough on mental health, offering an all-too-alluring medium for social comparison and ill-advised status updates. And while adding a friend on the social networking site can make people feel cheery and connected, having a lot of friends is associated with feeling worse about one's own life.
- The thread running through these findings is not that Facebook itself is harmful, but that it provides a place for people to indulge in self-destructive behavior, such as trumpeting their own weaknesses or comparing their achievements with those of others.
Although Facebook is an awesome tool for connecting, promoting and sharing, I think people who struggle with self-esteem may benefit from limiting their time on Facebook. It is far too easy to slip into a habit of comparing, beating yourself up or unhealthy competition. It is far too easy to seek validation from like buttons, counting comments and counting friends.
What tips do you have for those who struggle with self-esteem, and blame social networking sites?
Here are my tips:
Instead of focusing on the accomplishments of others, list your own accomplishments. If you spend hours upon hours browsing the Facebook pages of others and comparing yourself, balance that time by being grateful for the positive things in your life; the things that make you smile.
If there are people, places, or things that always seem to bring you down, address it. If need be, maybe take a break.
What do you think of the social networking studies? How do you utilize Facebook? What do you think of those who find Facebook more harmful than good?