Psychologicaleffects of the use of Facebook
Thepsychological effect of Facebook is a controversial issue where onecamp argues that it has negative psychological effects and the othercamp citing its positive effects. Within this mixture of ideas aboutthe effects of Facebook on its users, it is evident that it has bothpositive and negative effects. This implies that one needs to weighbetween the negative and the positive effects of Facebook to concludewhether its use of beneficial or not. This paper will address thenegative as well as the positive effects of Facebook on users’psychology.
Theeffect of the use of Facebook on the self-esteem of the users is adebated issue. However, empirical studies have established a positiveassociation between the use of Facebook and an increase in theself-esteem of individual users (Gonzales 3). This is because aselective self-prediction that is afforded by the digitallyinterceded environment boosts the self-esteem of the social siteuser. However, the tendency of Facebook to boost one’s self-esteemdepends on the purpose for which one is using it. For example, useruse like viewing their profile increases their self-awareness, whichin turn enhances their self-esteem.
Facebookis among the social sites that increase the happiness of the users.Social networking has a relational good, which increase happinesswhen Facebook users share their thoughts with friends and relatives(Penard 3). When used in a responsible way, Facebook helps its usersto balance between their face-to-face and virtual interactions. Inaddition, Facebook provides its users with an opportunity to interactwith people they have never and might never meet physically.Consequently, Facebook serves as a platform for establishing andmaintaining relationships. This means that Facebook is a tool thatenhances and expands social capital, which is among the maininfluential determinants of happiness.
Facebookis also associated with an improvement in the well-being of itsusers. A study has shown that the use of Facebook, similar to othersocial sites, makes a significant contribution towards identityformation, the well-being of the user, as well as the capacity todevelop family and romantic relations (Steinfield 436). The capacityto establish strong ties with other people using the Facebookimproves the users’ satisfaction with life, which in turn enhancestheir psychological well-being. In addition, people who are able toget satisfaction from virtual interactions reduce the risk of feelinglonely, thus enhancing the psychological well-being even when theirphysical friends are absent.
Despitethe fact that Facebook enhances the social capital, which in turnimproves the well-being, its overuse has been linked with thedeterioration of the well-being of users. Research has shown thatheavier use of the internet, especially the social media increasesthe chances of suffering from depression, loneliness, and stress(Steinfield 436). This means that lack of self-regulation on theusage of Facebook can damage the well-being of the user. This impliesthat Facebook can only contribute towards an improvement in thewell-being of users if it is used with moderation.
Cyber-bullyingis one of the major crimes that are difficult for the users ofFacebook to avoid. Research shows that about 5 to 40 % of theFacebook users have ever been cyber-bullied at a point in time(Hinduja 21). Users who are bullied feel frustrated, angry,depressed, and sad. All these outcomes of cyber-bullying reduce theFacebook users’ satisfaction and the well-being. Moreover, thelimited control that the government, parents, and other stakeholdershave on the usage of Facebook increases the risk of adolescentsposting inappropriate messages and photos. Posting and viewing ofinappropriate pictures and messages on Facebook can influence thebehavior of adolescents.
Beforethe onset of the information age, peer pressure used to bestraightforward. The introduction of Facebook gave peer pressure adigital boost (Vincebt 1). This means that young people can now beinfluenced by a larger number of people, some of which they havenever met physically. Therefore, Facebook is currently the easiestway for youths to share bad behaviors. For example, a study has shownthat youths are more likely to start smoking, using alcohol, engagingin irresponsible sexual behaviors when they see their age mates doingso in the social media. In addition, adverts that are made inFacebook are influential to adolescents and other groups of youngpeople.
Inconclusion, the use of Facebook has both negative and positiveeffects on its users, especially adolescent and young adult users.Some of the positive effects of the use of Facebook include anenhancement of self-esteem, well-being, happiness, and satisfactionwith life. However, this social site subjects its users to the riskof cyber-bullying, peer pressure, and deterioration of psychologicalwellness if overused. Although the use of Facebook has beenassociated with negative influences on its users, I feel that thepositive psychological benefits outweigh its drawbacks. To this end,I feel that the use of Facebook should continue, but with adequateself-regulation. Young users should also be advised on how to makethe most appropriate use of Facebook.
Gonzales,L. and Hancock, T. “Mirror, mirror on my Facebook wall: Effects ofexposure to Facebook on self-esteem”. Cyber-psychology,Behavior, and Social Network1.1 (2010): 1-6. Print.
Hinduja,S. Overviewof cyber-bullying.Boca Raton, FL: Florida Atlanta University, 2009. Print.
Penard,T., Poussing, N. and Suire, R. “Does the internet make peoplehappier”. Journalof Socio-Economics46 (2013): 105-116. Print.
Steinfield,C., Ellison, B. and Lampe, C. “Social capital, self-esteem, and useof online social network sites: A longitudinal analysis” Journalof Applied Developmental Psychology29 (2008): 434-445. Print.
Vincebt,J. The Facebook effects? Social media exposure increases smoking anddrinking among teens. IndependentPrint.September 5. 2013. Web. December 12 2014.