Popular Social Platform Facebook Induces Depression

Some people are more susceptible to developing depression when they use technology for extended periods of time.
Some people are more susceptible to developing depression when they use technology for extended periods of time.

Given that Facebook has 1.79 billion monthly active users, there is no doubt that it is a popular social platform. The irony of Facebook - a platform designed to make us more sociable - is that the site has been linked to depression - a condition that can result in withdrawal and social isolation.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) defined the condition as: “Depression that develops when preteens and teens spend a great deal of time on social media sites, such as Facebook, and then begin to exhibit classic symptoms of depression.”

Previous research has suggested that using Facebook is linked to several mental health consequences including depression, low self-esteem, and jealousy.

Low moods and depressive symptoms appear to go hand-in-hand with Facebook use, but one of the triggering factors seems to be “social comparison.”

Regular users are exposed to the “glossy showreel” of friends, family, and acquaintances’ lives. The idealized highlights of the daily existence of their peers may provoke feelings of envy and the distorted belief that others may lead happier, more exciting, and more successful lives.

Studies indicate that some people are more susceptible to developing depression when they use technology for extended periods of time, or may even become detached from their real-life social or work environments, reports

A new systematic review of all the literature linking social media networking sites with depression was conducted by Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, in order to examine the relationship between the two.

Of the 799 articles, 30 met the criteria for inclusion in the review with 16% of the studies finding a link between online social networking and depression, 6% finding that social networks do not cause depression and, in fact, have a positive impact on mental health, and 13% finding no significant link either way.

David A. Baker, doctorate in clinical psychology at the Faculty of Health and Medicine, and Guillermo Perez Algorta, Ph.D., of the Spectrum Center for Mental Health Research, Division of Health Research at the Faculty of Health and Medicine - both from Lancaster University in the UK - carried out the review.

  Complex Relationship

Their findings - published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking - suggest that there is a complex relationship between online social networking and depression. Researchers say that social comparison was the trigger in cases where there was a significant association between social networking and depression. Comparing yourself with others can lead to “rumination,” or overthinking.

Frequently posting on Facebook was also associated with depression for the same reason.

The type of social networking interactions, including obsessing over “virtual identity” and how they are perceived by others, envy activated by observing other people’s lives, frequently posting status updates, and negatively comparing themselves with others, were also found to be important factors. Avoiding these behaviors could help prevent the onset of Facebook-induced depression.

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