Facebook Depression: Truth or Lie?

The increasing integration of social networking into our lives raises concerns among numerous scientific communities. Some research teams have come up with data, which, they say, suggests that heavy Facebook users are at risk of depression and related issues. Are they? Is it Facebook that is to blame for thousands of ruined lives and maybe suicides? Of course, not! Blaming Facebook on your issues is like blaming electricity for creating a risk of fire breaking out due to short-circuit!

Verdict: Guilty!

Depression as a consequence of excessive use of social networks like Facebook has pretty much fallen under scientists’ scrutiny. They have conducted and published tons of research materials, in which they share their observations. David Baker and Dr. Guillermo Perez Algorta of Lancaster University, after reviewing tons of studies, deemed Facebook as a factor contributing to depression statistics. Another scientist – Morten Tromholt of the University from Copenhagen, Denmark, held an experiment with two groups of people, one continuing to use Facebook and the other taking a week-long break. He found that those who got away from Facebook were in a better mood than those who did not. Finally, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently reported that using social networks was fraught with psychological issues. Do these findings prove that Facebook may ruin your psyche?

Others Have a Different Opinion

There are as many studies that prove the opposite. Scientists who conducted them say Facebook is as dangerous as using the Internet in general. In fact, the correlation between using Facebook and chronic bad mood is more complex. There are lots of factors that mediate this relationship. Roughly, these are how you handle Facebook and why. In 2015, Tandoc et. al. held research, which involved a group of students of one of US colleges. The group consisted of more than 700 students. First, researchers asked them how often and for how long they used the network each day. The average length of Facebook stays was 2 hours. Second, they had to rate the users’ activity on Facebook based on the 5-point scale, ranging from 1 – very rarely or never, to 5 – almost all their spare time. The query also included questions, which were to determine, how often they would change status, post photos and vids, commend on their own and their friends’ photos and vids, track changes in their friends’ pages, statuses, etc. These were to draw a line between active users and those who used Facebook for surveillance purposes. The scientists applied an envy questionnaire and the CES-D screening pattern designed by Center of Economic and Social Development and intended for revealing symptoms of depression. The study did not reveal a direct connection between the use of social media and depression. However, it did reveal that those who used it for surveillance purposes (regular checking their friends’ accounts and tracking changes), were likely to develop a sense of envy and jealousy – the main factors that made them want to track they wanted to monitor their friends. These factors can contribute to depression.

It’s not Just Facebook that Causes It

As follows from the above, it is not Facebook, but some individual personality traits that cause depression in Facebook users. In this situation, it does not take Facebook or any other social network for a person, who is envious and/or jealous by nature, to develop this condition, because there are ways around it. If you feel fine, there is nothing wrong with your life, and you like everything about your life, you don’t really care who posts what and why. 

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