Facebook – Whats on your mind?

After coming across an article, discussing the new link found between the number of friends people have on Facebook and the degree to which they are a narcissist*, it made me think what sort of effect has social networking had on society.

Surely its negative.

Craig (2012) said that young people are becoming increasingly narcissistic and Facebook has provided a platform for this. But this isn’t the only problem.

Overuse of such sites has seen to have a negative effect on health. Sigman (2009) was concerned that a reduction in personal contact could increase the risks of heart disease, stroke and dementia! He suggested that increased isolation could upset immune responses, hormone levels and the function of the arteries, increasing the risk of these problems.

Not only that, but it has an effect on psychological wellbeing. Increasing numbers of anxiety and depression are becoming apparent. It may seem that it is a huge popularity contest, to see who has the most friends or who has the most likes on a photo. And if people don’t feel that they ‘make the grade’ it can really affect someone’s self-esteem. It also enables cyber bullying to take place. In one study, 42% of teens reported being bullied on line.

And it has an effect on achievement within school.  Teachers believe this obsession with social networking has a direct impact on students’ grades, because they fail to complete their work on time to the required standard. Cullen (2010) said that spending hours on social media will result in poor concentration and a lack of engagement for learning.

However, research has found that such sites have a positive effect. Increasingly, studies are indicating that social networking has a positive impact on social connectedness and wellbeing (Valkenburg & Peter, 2009).

Research has also found that young people are motivated to join these sites to keep strong ties with friends, (Acquisti & Gross). It enables people to keep in touch with current friends, seek out old friends and meet new people. And this may have huge benefits for people who are shy or introverted.

In one study, 50% of students used the sites to talk about school assignments – which we know to be true, what with all our Facebook groups!!  And as the younger generation already used the Internet efficiently, they are more likely to be engaged in learning in this way. There is a huge benefit to using social media within the education system.

To conclude, although social networking is part of our everyday life (it accounts for 17% of all time spent on the Internet), there are many positives, and negatives too, including increasing rates in depression and decreased success at school. Although the negatives outweigh the positives in terms of consequences, the growth of social networking will only keep increasing, and its something we cannot stop. The popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter more than quadrupled from 2005 to 2009!! It has definitely changed society, but we would not cope without it today. And that’s why despite the negatives, social networks are so popular.


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4 Responses to Facebook – Whats on your mind?

  1. psyalo says:

    Interesting blog! Apparently social networking is a big problem at the work place as well. Robert Half Technology conducted a survey of over 1400 chief information officers from the US. They found that 54% their firms did not allow employees to go on social networking sites at work. Compared to only 10% that allowed unlimited use. Their reasons for this was the loss in productivity. I think we all know this feeling of using social networking to procrastinate, and this is what the chief information officers are afraid of.

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  3. raw2392 says:

    Really interesting blog on a topic that affects us all… I think to some degree we are all addicted to facebook, whether it be a quick check whilst sat in lectures, signing on as soon as we sit down to write an assignment, or the first thing we check when we wake up! For many of us, it’s a way to find out about things going on around the world without actually having to open a newspaper. I think that social network sites need to be used in moderation. They can have a major psychological impact on many that use them and on their connected families. A report written by netsafe, a charity set up by a father who’s daughter committed suicide after being cyber bullied through facebook says that things like trolling can also have a major impact on families. A girl who died suddenly was trolled and a fake facebook site set up in her name involved the person emailing the girls family directly saying that she needed help and that heaven wasn’t a nice place to be! Sickening! Thankfully this individual was caught and sentenced to 17 months in prison. Facebook can also be very positive though, like you stated with the group sites set up for us all to use and to ask questions on, however, I have a strong belief that these groups also lead to individuals becoming lazy and asking simple questions that they could answer themselves by simply logging onto blackboard or the course calendar! Valkenberg & Peter (2009) wrote that keeping social networking and staying in contact with friends can have a positive impact on wellbeing and psychological state.
    Overall, a really interesting blog which raised many positive and negatives of social media.

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