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Facebook can worsen depression

Facebook is in your face about pretty much everything — how many friends users have, what those friends did this weekend or what their day-to-day goings-on include.

Facebook users may be used to this and many know how to ignore what they don’t want to see. Even so, according to a March 28 article from the Los Angeles Times, doctors and researchers are now warning about a new condition with social networking sites that doctors are calling “Facebook depression.”

Though researchers disagree on whether it is directly caused by the site or just an extension of depression that already existed, they do agree that the addition of Facebook may increase depression in youth who already feel that way in social situations, according to the article. Facebook can enhance the feeling of social connectedness among well-adjusted children, but can do the opposite to those who are more prone to depression.

Researchers cite that a large problem with Facebook is that it is like a big popularity contest — who has the most friends or the most tagged pictures. Another problem with the site is the commonality for people to post rude comments on pictures, walls or through messages about someone.

This is a major part of cyberbullying, but it can lead into this “Facebook depression” when the posts and comments are being directed toward someone who is already prone to depression or is already depressed.

How would one combat this feeling of depression caused by social networking sites? The most obvious answer would be to deactivate your account, but with so many people on Facebook, that’s probably easier said than done. With Facebook being so addicting by giving someone more information about his or her friends than he or she probably would ever want to know, it’s hard to just “turn it off.”

Another option would be to block those profiles — either block the person entirely or just from the newsfeed — so someone wouldn’t have to have them constantly clogging his or her newsfeed with updates. Parents could also talk to their kids when they decide to get a Facebook account, letting them know the dangers of cyberbullying and of Facebook depression. Parents and friends should look for signs of depression.

Though Facebook may be an easy way to keep in touch with past friends and faraway family, there are also some dangers to the site that people should be aware of before they get too addicted.

KC Aransen is a sophomore psychology major from Arlington.

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