Facebook opens many people up to new worlds. They can catch up with old friends, read news stories, learn how to cook, and get home décor ideas. Facebook can be a lot of fun, but if it starts taking up hours of your time every day, it could be turning into a problem for you. Facebook for some people, sucks their time away every day and over time, damages their relationships in real life. This was the case for a couple that had recently got married.
The woman was 20 years old and spent a lot of time on her phone browsing Facebook. Her husband complained that she was spending too much time and decided to take her phone away. She was distraught and locked herself in a room. Hours later when her husband returned from work, he found that she had hung herself. (1)
Does this seem extreme? Unfortunately, Facebook itself has recognized the billions of minutes that people spend on the site every day. In fact, according to the company’s 2012 IPO filings, users spend about 10.5 billion minutes a day (not counting on mobile apps) worldwide. That means people have spent about 55 million years on Facebook since 2009. And not surprisingly, we’re hearing more and more of these kinds of tragic stories that link death to excessive use of technology or social media. A study that was published last year from Ottawa Public Health looked at how social media usage is connected to mental health, especially in young people. The findings revealed that teens that are using social media for two or more hours each day, have a great chance of struggling mental health, suicidal thoughts, and psychological stress. The study collected data from 750 students ranging from seventh to twelfth grade and 25% reported being connected to Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram for at least two hours a day. This group was also more likely to show signs of anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. (2)
Is there a solution? Technology is continuing to advance and Facebook is continuing to get more and more enticing. We recommend limiting access to screens, whether it’s computers, televisions, iPads, or phones. Young people have brains that are developing at a very rapid rate and it’s important that excessive screen use does not get in the way of this growth. If you notice that your kids are showing signs of addiction to technology or social media, begin cutting back the usage time. If you’re the one that has an issue with screen overuse, the same goes – cut back time. Taking small steps and cutting back 10 minutes one day, 20 minutes the next, and so on, can help make the transition to less use easier.
For more information on digital or pornography addictions, visit http://realbattle.org/resources/
- Charlton, Corey. Dailymail.com. “Newlywed wife, 20, hangs herself after her husband takes away her phone because she was always on Facebook and WhatsApp.” October 15, 2015. Accessed online June 27, 2016. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3270962/Newlywed-wife-20-hangs-Indian-husband-takes-away-phone-Facebook-WhatsApp.html
- Gregoire, Carolyn. “Heavy Social Media Use Linked With Mental Health Issues in Teens.” Huffington Post. July 28, 2015. Accessed online October 9, 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/social-media-mental-health_55b129d9e4b08f57d5d3eedf