In the age of social media, one can hardly finish a conversation with another individual without the other or oneself indiscreetly checking their smartphone. This scenario has become commonplace in everyday interactions, even in older generations, and begs the question “Is checking your Facebook mid-conversation keeping you socially connected or disconnecting you from relationships?” While many argue that such actions have taken the concept of rude to whole new level, many feel that staying constantly socially connected via Facebook and Twitter is unavoidable and perhaps even necessary in today’s society.
As social media sites are becoming ever-prominent in cultures around the world, studies are constantly coming out regarding the benefits and risks of these sites. mainly Facebook. Each study reporting a potential benefit seems to be equally matched by a study finding a liability to staying socially connected, making it hard to determine if Facebook and other sites are aversive or beneficial to mental health. A recent article by Ashley Day catalogued some of the major studies surrounding Facebook and pinned the benefits versus risks of Facebook. Researched benefits included one study by Cornell University that correlated Facebook updating to increases in self-esteem. Additionally, researchers at other universities found that Facebook could be used by individuals to strengthen friendships and overcome shyness or isolation. On the other hand, one study recently published by American Academy of Pediatric (AAP), described Facebook depression, a condition that results when adolescents spend too much time on social media sites. Other negative consequences listed in the article include the triggering of eating disorders in adolescent females as well as the deterioration and conflict in marriages.
With countless studies being published regarding the potential benefits and risks of social media sites, it’s difficult to determine whether using Facebook or Twitter is good or bad for your mental health, relationships, and self-esteem. Taking all things into consideration, it’s important to determine your individual use of social networking and decide how it affects you personally. From there, monitor how you use social networking, when and how often you use it, and why you use it. You may find that regulating your social networking use makes you happier on a day-to-day basis and may even save your friendships or possibly your marriage.
To read more about the benefits and consequences of social networking, click here.
Find out more about how social networking can affect your relationship with Pat Love’s CE Webinar on Love in the Age of Twitter.