Psychological Effects of Facebook


Facebook was launched in 2004 at Harvard by Mark Zuckerberg and a couple of his roomies. Initially only Harvard students could become members, but later other colleges and educational institutions were also included. Eventually anyone past the age of 13 could become a member on this social networking site. As of September 2012, there were over 1 billion users on Facebook.

So what is the reason for the phenomenal popularity of this particular site? There’s no simple answer of course; there are a variety of reasons. The ability to keep so easily in touch with friends and make new ones is perhaps the biggest reason. In any case, one thing is pretty certain. A majority of the users on Facebook are addicted to it and end up spending hours on it.

There are those who check their Facebook for messages and new posts from friends, first thing in the morning, when they wake up. There are some who keep checking for updates every hour, even every few minutes. Thanks to the arrival of Smartphones and Tablets, now people can login to their accounts and even chat even on the go.

So how much Facebook is bad for you? Or does it have a positive effect? Too much of anything can’t really be good, can it?

Let’s take a look at the negative effects first:

  • For many people, the number of friends they have on Facebook is a measure of their popularity. Those with less number of friends may suffer from low self esteem and even develop an inferiority complex. Especially if they see that THEIR friends have several more friends.
  • Psych studies have shown that having a large number of online friends do nothing for the brain, whereas interacting with friends in the real world made the brain more active.
  • People usually post only the good things that happen in their lives. Reading such posts can make another person feel that there is nothing that good or exciting happen in their lives, and they are highly likely to feel envious and depressed.
  • Those who spend more time online are more likely to shy away from actual interaction and may become introverted or even loners.
  • FB addicts also rely ever more on others’ comments on their photos and posts to feel good about themselves. If they don’t get rave reviews on a picture they have posted, there could be a tendency to feel ignored or even think of themselves as a failure.
  • Young adults and children who spend a lot of time on Facebook are also likely to have poor social skills and much less adept at reading body language

Psychological Effects of Facebook
On the Positive side:

  • Just looking at your profile and your friends list, the positive comments you have got, can definitely make you feel good and give you a boost.
  • On days when your real world friends are not available but you need a friend to talk to, you might find some of your online friends, who are willing to lend you their ears.

So I guess the negative points are far more than the positive. That is not to say that nobody should join Facebook, or be active on it. I for one am happy that I get to see pictures of my nieces and nephews who live halfway across the globe. Being able to keep in touch with friends from student days who are far away, helping some good causes, and making interesting new friends from other countries are all great experiences, and I would not miss it for anything.

But, like a wise man once said, ‘Everything in Limitation’!

About the author: Andrea Walters, a freelance writer for MyTechHelp – a leader in providing support across various products brands and tech devices for individuals and small businesses in need of instant tech help. hp tech support