I often refer to myself as a Facebook alien - a stranger in a strange land who's not a part of the community. I tried to like it. I really did. But the truth is, I hate Facebook. There, I said it.
I'm in my 40s; I figured this kind of thing was for "the kids" who are much more tech-savvy than I am. (I know, that may be offensive to some, but let me explain: I am a tech-unsavvy kind of girl. Atari was my kind of video game, OK?).
But then my older sister started using it, and she loved it. She was having tons of fun connecting with all kinds of people with whom we grew up. If I had a couple dollars for every person who has said, "I'm friends with your sister on Facebook," well, I'd be able to buy a new computer to Facebook on.
So I joined it too. And it was like what I imagine hitting the crack pipe would be like. I immediately had to have more of it. Needed to have more friends, needed to edit my profile (again), needed to come up with clever things to post. I was addicted, and I knew it.
And like most addictions, it was hurting me. I began to realize that my time spent on Facebook wasn't making me feel better; rather, it was making me feel bad. Like sugar: a pull towards it, even though I know it's not good for me; a short-lived high upon indulgence; a crash into a negative energy state soon to follow.
I tried to reason it away; ration off my use of Facebook. But this nagging sensation remained. For me, Facebook is a portal to an imaginary world. A world where we can create the life we want others to see - maybe it's real, maybe it's rooted in reality, maybe there's nothing real about it at all. The lack of consistent authenticity wears on me. And the lack of true connection makes me feel empty and deeply sad. I always felt a sense of insecurity - that the next slightly cyberbully-ish comment was on its way anytime. I don't need cyber barbs coming my way. If you have something to say to me, say it to my face. I will return the favor, I assure you. Authenticity and truth, along with kindness, are among my highest values.
Recent research supports my theory that Facebook can lead to unhealthy thoughts/unhealthy behaviors, and in as few as TWENTY MINUTES of use! This research was published online Jan. 24 in the International Journal of Eating Disorders. The researchers looked at 960 completed surveys of Facebook used to explore a potential link with disordered eating. They found that more frequent Facebook use was associated with more disordered eating. In another analysis, 84 women were randomly assigned to 20 minutes of Facebook or an alternate Internet site, with Facebook use being associated with weight concerns and anxiety.
"Facebook merges powerful peer influences with broader societal messages that focus on the importance of women's appearance into a single platform that women carry with them throughout the day," a coauthor said in a statement. "As researchers and clinicians attempt to understand and address risk factors for eating disorders, greater attention is needed to the emerging role of social media in young people's lives."
Something to think about, for ourselves and for our children. A harmless habit, a feel-good waste of time...or something else entirely?
Dr. Cindy Haines is a 70.3 yogi dedicated to the quest for better health via self-empowerment. For even more tips on how to get better health and need the health care system less, check out: The New Prescription: How to Get the Best Health Care in a Broken System by Dr. Cynthia D. Haines, M.D. (Dr. Cindy Haines) and Eric Metcalf, M.P.H. This is a book about getting what you really want: better health on your own terms. More medical care doesn’t mean better health. Dr. Haines and Metcalf reveal some of the most egregious problems with a medical system gone awry, opening readers’ eyes to how to better navigate the changes underway. Using solid research, insiders’ insights, and patient anecdotes, they offer cost-effective and potentially life-saving ways to get more out of health care while using less of it.
Published On: March 14, 2014