2 experts and 2 parents have answered
Don't ask me – I deleted my account a couple of months ago. That made me more angry than anything, since it's near impossible. A new study has actually found a link between using The Social Network and miserablia, so looks like I made the right decision!
'Rather than enhance well-being, we found that Facebook use predicts the opposite result,' said the Michigan University psychologist behind the research, 'It undermines it.' The study also found that people would use the site more when they felt lonely, which hints at a bit of a vicious cycle being set in motion.
What do you guys think? Does using Facebook make you miserable, necessarily? Have you noticed behavioural changes in your kids when they use the site? (Y'know, other than the usual mood swings that come with the joy of childhood and teenagedom...)
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It depends on how you use it. Many of my friends and family live abroad, so social networks such as Twitter and Facebook have been instrumental in allowing me to keep in touch with them.
Twitter has proven to be particularly useful at channeling knowledge and information that is relevant to my professional interests, but this is because I follow fellow professionals and those with an insight into that which interests me. Facebook is the same.
If you think there are those on Facebook who make you miserable, then turn the volume down on them by going into settings and selecting to see only their "important updates" or by un-friending them if necessary.
However, many people are made miserable on Facebook because of their own behaviour on it. We must think carefully about how we wish to come across to friends and other people and be a role model to those who are learning to use social networks by following our example.
Do remember also that addictive behaviour, whether it is on Facebook or at the local supermarket, tends to make you and those around you miserable. If this is your problem, my advice would be to tackle the root of behaviour, not the symptom.
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Facebook plays perfectly to people's egos, and it allows individuals to portray a highly edited and often exaggerated version of their life for people to see. People (particularly children) who don't understand that Facebook is exactly that - edited and exaggerated - may experience fear of missing out (FOMO) whereby they feel like they are missing out on all the fun things that seem to be going on in their networks. This may create feelings of insecurity and jealousy, and lower confidence.
It is my view that Facebook should be viewed as a way for people to share snapshots of their life, not the whole lot.
I know people who wouldn't dream of going out anywhere without 'checking in' on Facebook and posting a picture of them there, because they want to keep people updated with their movements. I equally know people who can't think of anything worse than all their movements being documented for all to see, and they actually view it as quite sad when people feel the need to share everything about where they are and what they're doing.
It's worth remembering that just because it isn't on Facebook, doesn't mean it didn't happen. Often less is more with sharing, and I'd ask the question of who is actually having more fun: the person who is enjoying themselves and not caring about how they will represent it on Facebook, or the person behind the camera typing away furiously?
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There is no website that can't make someone miserable. I used to use VKontakte (www.vk.com) for talking to my friends and finding them, but in 17 years old I deleted it due to conflicts with some people. I was totally upset when someone who I was interested in talking to deletes me, this also caused me to delete other people from friend lists (even the most innocent ones!!!), and get in a desperation of searching new ones. Conflicts usually were based on stereotypes (I used to be obliged to think that sad things are true things), but my mission was to break them in my mind. People were thinking that I am an attention seeker and used to make fun out of me. Usually, social interaction IS an attention itself.
Since VKontakte is a Russian clone of Facebook, the misery causing probability of Facebook is very high. Especially if you are actually searching for friends. Friend searching is defacto considered as "attention seeking" by these people, and people who need friends usually don't have any online. As children we used to be taught that "it's extremely hard to find a good friend", that "there are fair-weather friends and true friends", and our typical conversation was like that:
-Mommy, why I don't have any friends?
-Deal with it.
Ain't that just plain aggression? If you can't find any friends, BE one!!!