Clinically Speaking is a blog that will allow anyone to learn about Social Work, case presentations in psychotherapy, and the relationship of pop culture in psychology. Come one...come all!!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Facebook...Hurting or Helping psychologically?

I have been really getting into how role of psychology has been intertwined with technology this past week. This is the reason for the last post and the current post.

I was watching a special on CNBC about Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg, more about the evolution since its inception and why it is so successful, but also the social and psychological dangers of it. I decided to dig a bit further whether Facebook and other social media outlets have psychological danger or was it just good fodder for the special. Turns out, there maybe some credence that Facebook could potentially be dangerous psychologically...but can it also help?

Dr. B.J. Fogg is a psychologist who studies online behavior at Stanford University, he was interviewed for the special and said that even though you may be able to connect to people who you haven't seen in 10 years, and re-established those connections, they are not connections which are strong ones, which in turn makes your current strong relationships weaker because of the amount of "friends" you have on Facebook, you will not be able to connect to all of them authentically.

As technology evolves, the necessity to call someone or meet face to face has become a "bother". We are more willing to "shoot you an email" or "send me a text". Facebook has created an artificial world that can even conduct business without even picking up a phone. According to Dr Aric Sigman reported by said:"this [lack of face-to-face contact] behavior can increase the risk of serious health, such as cancer, stroke, heart disease, and dementia (senility), thus by in The Biologist, the journal was released by The Institute of Biology...these sites do not become a tool that can improve the quality of life, but rather a tool that makes us the wrong direction." Meaning Facebook and social media should act as an enabler for your social life, not the actual social life.

So can Facebook and social media outlets help someone psychologically?

In an article written by Naomi Nix in today's Chicago Tribune, she reports on a college sophomore who posted on her Facebook wall that she wanted to commit suicide. She expected no response and "give up on it". Something very different happened, support for the girl from her Facebook friends and a call from an administrator of the college came to her aid. Happily, she was able to seek help and is now a junior in college. In the past two years as reported the American Psychological Association(APA) have set up a task force on how psychologist should use electronic communications professionally.

Dr. John M. Grohol, the founder of writes: "blaming Facebook or some other social networking site is simply trying to sweep students’ feelings of pain under the rug...If we stop them from posting, then they won’t be able to express these painful sentiments, and nobody else will commit suicide...Facebook is simply the conduit students are now using to express their feelings of loss, pain and remorse. Trying to cut it off is missing the point — that these students need an outlet."

I am torn. I am not going to lie. Obviously, there are always positives and negatives to pretty much everything in life. Does the positive outweigh the negative? Even though Facebook and Twitter are not new to the world, it is new to psychological and social construct outside of our computer. There is still more research that needs to take place in order for there to be a definitive answer on whether or not to "Like this" or "Dislike this". Wink.

Links to these articles for your viewing pleasure.,0,2988256.story

Sorry for the late post! Enjoy!

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