The Addictive Power of Facebook

I remember when I created my Facebook account in seventh grade. I was overwhelmed and excited by this social media platform and the many opportunities it gave me to express myself and communicate with my friends.

Shortly after I created my Facebook account, I became addicted. Every time I would go onto the computer and pull up the web browser, my fingers would automatically type in “facebook.com” even if I had no intention of going on Facebook. I’d logged on so many times it became a habit. Muscle memory for Facebook, freaky.

Screen shot 2014-02-24 at 10.44.09 AMI began to obsess over statuses, likes and pictures. I truly couldn’t stop myself. I would log on, browse around my News Feed, see nothing of interest and log off. Two minutes later I’d log right back on and do the same thing. It was monotonous, pointless and boring.

My overprotective parents noticed my Facebook obsession when I was in eighth grade and quickly disabled my account. I wasn’t allowed on Facebook for months. That was incredibly difficult for me at first, given my obviously unhealthy attachment to the network.

Although I hated it, my parents did the right thing for me. My addiction for Facebook died away as I rediscovered other fun activities to fill my time. For instance, actually hanging out with my friends instead of stalking them on Facebook.

Unstuck posted a study that concluded that Facebook may be harmful to the mental health of frequent users. The post says that the study reported that people that spend time looking at their friends’ vacation photos and comparing the number of likes on birthday posts between themselves and other friends. These types of obsessive comparisons can lead to loneliness and depression.

This doesn’t surprise me in the least. Facebook is a black hole that sucks you right in. As a middle school girl, I should’ve been outside riding bikes in the cul de sac with my neighbors instead of browsing through my News Feed.

There is something mysterious about the fact that it is possible have hundreds, even thousands, of friends on Facebook and still feel lonely, staring at a News Feed that is full of old news.

And maybe that’s what Facebook is: old news. According to an article on Mashable, Facebook use is on the decline, but seems to be leveling off. This article links to a few other studies that seem to point to the fact that there is a decline of teen users on Facebook. I hope this is true, because teenagers don’t need another thing to draw them into the black hole of loneliness and depression.

I’m not saying Facebook is all bad. I really like Facebook. I use it as a tool to stay in touch with friends and family. But there is a fine line between Facebook as a tool to stay in touch and Facebook as a tool that advocates loneliness and depression.

Bottom line: Limit Facebook usage. A fun and interactive social media tool can quickly turn sour if you spend too much time on it.

Photo by me via my Facebook account

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