facebook depression

facebook depression

Facebook Depression: Social Media is No Replacement for Social Interaction

By Brooke Randolph

In the discussion about “Facebook Depression” sparked from the Clinical Report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, I tend to side with John Grohol who reminds us of the basic truth of research- that correlation does not equal causation, but I do think the relationship is more complicated than simply correlation or causation.

Facebook is the most widely spread social media platform with more than 500 million active users. My grandmother is on Facebook (primarily stalking us all – Hi, Grandma!). I know some elementary school students who use Facebook with their parent’s permission. I have friends in several different countries and time zones on Facebook. When we look at Facebook users, we are looking at a large section of the population of the world. We really cannot consider Facebook users a category of people to research.

Many years ago, before everyone and their grandmothers were on Facebook, I read and wrote about research which showed that while watching television, viewers were mildly depressed and anxious. Our brains are not satisfied with observing social interactions; we need to participate socially to obtain the benefits of having other people around us and in our line of sight. I would guess that the person who sits alone at a party not talking to anyone ends up feeling much the same way – left out and alone. Comments from friends, birthday messages, and event invites can make us smile or feel special; but it is no substitution for face to face interactions with people who care about us.

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