Downfalls of Facebook

Youngstown State University senior Allyson Pollice joined the Facebook community four years ago.

Pollice said her mood changes when she reads posts and comments about “stupid stuff,” such as who’s wearing what and why they’re wearing it — rants she considers to be unnecessary.

She’s a part of social media, but Pollice said it doesn’t define her.

“There’s never been a time that I’ve been on it 24/7, but I do check it a few times a day,” Pollice said.

While Pollice said Facebook sometimes alters her mood, she doesn’t get depressed.

But some researchers argue that such a thing as “Facebook depression” exists.

Gwenn Schurgin O’Keeffe, author of the article, “The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families,” defines Facebook depression 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.”

John Grohol, founder and editor-in-chief of Psych Central, an online independent mental health and psychology network run by mental health professionals, said he disagrees, citing several references to back up his stance in his article, “Pediatrics Gets it Wrong about ‘Facebook Depression.’”

Grohol cites another study, which states that researchers found a correlation between depression and social media sites in people with low-quality friendships.

YSU senior Kirsten Pesa said she is a social media addict at times, but it hasn’t caused her to become depressed.

“I think some people are stupid on it, but it never affects me,” Pesa said.

In her clinical study, O’Keeffe said that “[a]-cceptance by and contact with peers is an important element of adolescent life. The intensity of the online world is thought to be a factor that may trigger depression in some adolescents.”

While Pollice avoids depression induced by social media, she said she does see the connection between depression and social media.

Pollice said that while she was going through a breakup, she began checking Facebook to see whether any change had occurred and to see what was being said about it.

“It was like pouring salt into the wound,” Pollice said.

Pollice and Pesa both said Facebook exhibits good qualities.For example, they enjoy catching up with people they haven’t seen in years.

Pesa said she has many friends from England, and Facebook makes it easier to maintain contact with them.

It’s also a good way to promote events and other promotions Facebook users should know about, Pollice said.

In her report, O’Keeffe mentioned many benefits to using social media. For example, as long as the social interaction is positive, it can be a great tool in staying connected with friends, family and the community.

Enhanced learning opportunities that allow students “to meet” outside of class and share information also exist, according to O’Keeffe’s report.

Pollice said she agrees.

However, she can still see the downside behind Facebook’s silver lining.

“Facebook can be a really great resource as long as it’s not abused and used for negative things,” Pollice said.