Three Harmful Effects of Facebook

I have a cheating heart! My love is divided. As I do dishes, I fantasize about him. As I tuck my children into bed, I’m secretly wishing I could be with him. He is the last thought on my mind at night and my motivation to jump out of bed in the morning. Like all new loves, the anticipation is just as exciting as the reality. Who is this prince charming? Mr. Facebook! Despite my infatuation, it’s a one-sided relationship, and one that has exposed some gaping personality flaws. So here are three harmful effects of Facebook:

1) It makes us insecure

Part of my adoration for Mr. FB was motivated by how he made me feel. Soon after I joined, I was overwhelmed by the many requests for friendship that I received. One after the other, they tumbled into my inbox, all confirming that I was somebody. But as time passed, the requests became fewer and fewer. On a good week I will get one or two, mostly from my family, whom I have convinced to join. If a week goes by without a new friend request, all my past feelings of insecurities rush over me: Does anyone like me? Did I say the right thing? Will they be my friend? Facebook can provide affirmation and praise but with the good comes the bad: like a time machine, Facebook can transport us back to an age of insecurity and vulnerability.

2) No self-control

I am a Facebook addict! My life was happy and meaningful before we ever met, yet his magnetism is strong. I keep going back for more, and now it seems beyond my control. My only explanation is that I come from a long line of addicts. There may be a genetic mutation behind my obsessive personality. I will usually deny my addiction and, if push comes to shove, I will justify it: “Well, at least it’s not something harmful to my health.” Yet in the recesses of my mind I wonder if it is damaging. To be addicted to something means to devote oneself habitually or compulsively. This is another dark side of Facebook: it creates addicts. This causes a huge loss of productivity and wasted time, which is a high price to pay for no self-control.

3) Rudeness

Part of my desire to join Facebook was nostalgia. I reasoned that it would allow me to keep in touch with long-lost friends. But despite my best intentions, I am still too busy. The virtual world requires less of us. You can be close to someone and yet barely acknowledge they exist. If I invited a guest for dinner and never spoke a word to them, it would be considered highly offensive, yet somehow this goes unnoticed every day on Facebook. I do seem to find time to keep in touch with those I choose to. I have spent hours of my life taking quizzes and playing games, but I feel no more connected to those cherished friends of long ago. In fact, it may be more damaging to our relationship. With technology has come a new standard of etiquette; one that washes away politeness, revealing a rudeness that we all had hidden within us.

So to all you Facebook junkies: I hope Mr. Casanova will sweep you off your feet and bring you much pleasure. But


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