Facebook is a very popular social networking site with over eight hundred million users. As an avid user of Facebook myself, I find it hard to believe that at one point it didn’t exist. In fact, it has become so much a part of people’s lives that you can learn their life story just by checking their page. Their friends, likes and dislikes, relationship status, phone number, address, everything. Sounds a little dangerous. There are positive and negative effects that Facebook has on people, and they can be quite significant.
The Positive Effects
Keeping in touch with family and friends- Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with your family and friends that live far away. With instant messaging and even video chat, Facebook is the perfect environment to stay connected. With the status updates, photos, and profile information, it can keep you up to date on the happenings of all of your close ones.
Making new friends- Facebook makes meeting new people extremely easy due to the fact that it allows you to add up to thousands of friends, and acts as a social melting pot of the internet. If you comment on a friends status, and one of their friends comments on it, maybe you two will strike up your own conversation. This can lead to a great friendship down the road. Most people find it a lot easier to start a conversation with someone over Facebook than in real life, so a lot of high-school relationships tend to start there. It’s as simple as a “You should text me some time.”
Expressing yourself- Facebook makes expressing yourself very simple with status updates. Between showing off your favorite song lyrics, to posting pictures of your new outfit, Facebook is the most common way that people express themselves these days. It is a lot harder to feel embarrassment over the internet than in person, so people find it easier to “vent” their feelings on Facebook.
The Negative Effects
Cyber-bullying- On Facebook it is very easy for cyber bullies to thrive. They can harass and/or gang up on one person even easier than they could in a school environment. There aren’t moderators that go around monitoring what people say to each other. Anything can be said. There are also a relatively small amount of parents that have Facebook accounts and keep up with their children’s. More than once I’ve witnessed this form of bullying, whether it be about race, appearance, intelligence, etc.
Ruined relationships- Facebook is notorious for causing couples to break up. Let’s face it, no one wants to see their girlfriend/boyfriend telling other people that they look cute, or liking their pictures, or instant messaging them constantly. It builds up jealousy, which causes quite a bit of tension in a relationship. The fact that many people try to hook up with others over Facebook while not realizing that these people are in a relationship doesn’t help the issue.
Distraction- At the end of the day you may have seen your cousin’s new outfit or talked to your sister who is in college, but you still haven’t really accomplished anything in the hours that you were on. Critics of Facebook claim that it is a worldwide distraction and even obsession that amounts to nothing except for significant amounts of time wasted. There is even a group that is trying to stunt the influence of Facebook called “Facebook Detox.”
Insecurity- Facebook is a cause for insecurities due to the fact that it makes people compare themselves to others. How can you not when all you see is pictures of your friends and acquaintances on your newsfeed?
Stalker friendly- Facebook is a very stalker friendly website. Theoretically, someone that you don’t even know can say that they go to your school, add you, and get all of your information. This may include your phone number, house address, and locations you visit frequently. Not to mention the fact that they will be able to go through all of your pictures and get to know you completely without you ever knowing. This is a scary thought, but it is a real issue.