Communication technologies are considered as essential features in the process of interaction and cultural integration in many countries all over the world. The internet, cell phones and especially Facebook can bring the world closer and help people to communicate easily despite different locations. Facebook is a popular social networking site which attracts millions of people. Many of them view Facebook as an indispensable aspect in their relationships as well as their daily lives. However, research about Facebook’s dark sides (cited in Pearse, 2012) states that ‘young people are becoming increasingly narcissistic, and obsessed with self-image and shallow friendships’. This essay will prove that Facebook is a tool that brings more negative effects to people especially addicts because they may have troubles with communication skills, psychology and distraction.
One of the main problems that is caused by Facebook is the lack of interaction in real life. Normally, many people particularly Facebook addicts usually spend less time with their families, friends or go out less frequently. They tend to put their relationships with colleagues or lovers at risk. For instance, they can miss a work meeting or postpone a date because of being busy on Facebook. This can weaken neighbourhood and community ties or lead to isolation for addicts. Furthermore, people who depend too much on this tool will find more difficulties and feel less confident to speak in front of many people and make friends. Greenfield (2009) states that people normally do not use nonverbal language when they are interacting with others through a computer. In fact, many experts (cited in Wilson, 2009) claim that body language accounts for approximately 70-80% of a conversation. If people spend too much time on Facebook, they will become awkward when using hand gestures or body movements, which may obstruct them in speaking persuasively and skilfully.
The second problem is Facebook can lead to distraction. It maybe difficult for people to concentrate on work or study with a computer or a cell phone beside them. They usually tend to stop doing something to check notifications or messages from friends, which really wastes time. Tobin (2011) asserts that each distraction can increase at least 17% the whole time that people spend to read a complete text. Getting worse, people
sometimes can not get back to their work after checking Facebook, which means they will probably spend less time on studying and working, or in some cases, may expand the amount of time to finish work. For example, normally students’ assignments or essays may take 1 or 2 more hours than they should becauses students get distracted by Facebook. Furthermore, a lot of people especially students have the habit of checking comments and messages whenever they have time, even when they are still in classes. This is really disturbing because studies by leading universities, from MIT to Stanford (cited in Warrell, 2012), prove that ‘the human brain simply can not do multiple things at once’. Consequently, students might stop listening to their teachers and miss some important points which are necessary for their test while looking at someone’s pictures on Facebook. This may negatively affect their grades on tests or even their final results.
The last problem is Facebook can affect people’s psychology. According to Henderson (2013), Facebook can hurt people’s self esteem. Many people especially teenagers believe that the more Facebook friends they have, the more famous they are. Thus, users seem to be focused too much on self image. They tend to change their pictures more often and update statuses regularly. Sometimes, many of them even edit the pictures by photoshop software or make up fictitious stories about themselves for the pupose of making them more attractive and oustanding. Moreover, due to the development of Facebook, cyber bullying has become more common. According to Fox, technology editor at Consumer Reports (cited in Brandon, 2011) ‘A million kids were bullied on Facebook in the last year’. Cyber bullying can be conducted in many forms such as sending mean and threatening messages, making obscene comments on someone’s pictures and statuses or setting up a Facebook page to post unreal articles that harm the reputation of a person. In these ways, people’s self image can be damaged significantly, which might make them feel stressed and ashamed. In the long term, users will be afraid of other people and isolate themselves from the real world, or worse, they can be depressed and attempt suicide.
In conclusion, it is believed that Facebook is a great tool that helps people to communicate with each other across long distances. However, it can lead
to numerous significant negative aspects. Facebook addicts may find many difficulties in social communications skills or easily get distracted. Moreover, they tend to have lots of psychological problems particularly low self esteem. Therefore, Facebook is not always a appropriate place for people to communicate or express themselves. Individuals should arrange time sensibly between using Facebook, work and social relationships to avoid unnecessary troubles.