Facebook Effects on Society Essay

Nowadays, the social networking known also as social media has become a widespread subject among people, especially among teenagers. At its beginning, social media consisted of diverse dating websites. Now, most people consider that having a social media account means that you have a Facebook account. Facebook involves interactivity and the aim of it was, from the very beginning, to be able to add different people as friends and let those people know about the activities of their “new” friends. It was launched in 2004 and now is one of the most popular social media websites in the entire world.

According to the last surveys in the field, Facebook changes and influences social relationships along with people’s ideas, thoughts and actions. There are several negative effects that Facebook has on the society, in general, and on the people, individually. Facebook causes addiction, which implies: less social interaction, distraction from another tasks and health issues.

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Since for many people searching and posting on Facebook has become one of the main daily activities, less social interaction begin to be one of the main negative effects that Facebook has on its users.

Recent data shows that there are over 500 million Facebook users, which means 1 person in every 13 people on Earth uses Facebook. This social media website seems to be for people an escape from real life to a life where everything is fine and organized. In 2010, Pew Research Center created a survey on over 2,000 respondents about social networking influences and demonstrated that 92% of the social networking users have account on Facebook and 52% of them check their Facebook profile at least once a day. Overall, half of the actual Facebook users, which means 250 million people, checks their profile daily. And definitely, those who tend to check their profile many times a day are the ones who tend to get more attracted by the activities on Facebook and so, to be less interested in real life productivity.

Christine Rosen, member of the Ethics and Public Policy Center from Washington, says ” People who use networks like Facebook have a tendency to describe themselves like products”(BUGEJA 88). That less social interaction will begin once the Facebook users start feeling more connected with the others through Facebook. A research did by Alex Trimpe, student at Columbus College of Art& Design shows that “57% of people talk more online than they do in real life” (BATTISHILL). In addition, a report in Daily Mail confirmed that more than a third of the respondents spend less time on going out with friends than posting or chatting on Facebook. A percentage of 75 of the surveyed people have fewer friends since they started using Facebook as a way to keep friends updated and even if they realize they need more real meetings, Facebook is still the first choice for “hanging-out” and for meeting new people.

This seems to be a new way of creating and maintaining friendship relations and Steven Strogatz, network science expert and PhD professor at Cornell University, confirms: ” The distinction between genuine friends and acquaintances is becoming blurred. Users are spending time maintaining relationships with people they don’t really care about”. (JARVIS) Another of Facebook’s negative effects on society is the distraction from important tasks, which increases the inability to control important occupations such as working or studying. Michael Bugeja, professor and director of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Iowa, named this generation ” The Facebook Generation’ who text-message during class, talk on their cellphones during labs, and listen to iPods rather than guest speakers in the wireless hall”(Bugeja 85).

Due to this extended presence on Facebook, the students encounter issues on tasks’ performances or in respecting due dates. For instance, a psychologist of the Centre for Learning Sciences and Technologies at Open University, Paul Kirschnera, and Aryn Karpinskib, a professor at Ohio State University, did a survey that shows that the average GPA of students without a Facebook account is around 3.86 while the Facebook users have a GPA of 3.06 (Choney). Paul Kirschnera affirmed in a Daily Mail article: “The problem is that most people have Facebook or other social networking sites, their emails and maybe instant messaging constantly running in the background while they are carrying out other tasks”(Fleming). Facebook has a well developed entertainment value and, also, an informative value and both make people get involved in discussions or any other activities allowed on this website.

Their curiosity or pleasure in what they see or read encourages them to spend more time “facebooking”. For example, checking the last posts on their friends’ walls, changing constantly their status or using Facebook chat. Any social media activity longer than a few minutes interferes with people’s main occupation, in students’ case, homework, and it makes difficult to keep them focused on what is really important. The experts advice Facebook users to take “tech breaks” and check their profiles after at least 15 minutes of working on other different tasks. Last, but definitely one of the most dangerous effects of Facebook on society is that it brings a series of health risks. According to a Daily Mail report, people who often use social media tend to be more isolated, and they find it difficult to communicate in person.

Doctor Aric Sigman, member of The Institute of Biology, says in The Biologist, “This [isolated behavior] can increase the risk of health problems as serious as cancer, strokes, heart diseases, and dementia” (BBC News). These health issues are more likely to appear in someone who spends more time socializing online than he does on face-to-face contacts. In addition, Dr Sigman underlines that some hormones such as stress released or oxytocin hormones, which help people to start and maintain social relationships, are altered in the people who do not have an active social life and who share their emotions and thoughts through Internet. It explains why many people who overuse Facebook are more vulnerable to stress, nervousness and isolation. Another health risk caused by an excessive use of Facebook is the chaotic habit of eating that people have, especially teenagers. If they spend most of their time on Facebook, they tend to skip meals or eating unhealthy food. According to researchers, these habits could lead to diseases like bulimia or anorexia.

A survey based on a sample of 600 Facebook users with ages between 16-40 and done by The Center for Eating Disorders, reports that 75% of the respondents do not like how their body looks and 51% of them compare their bodies with their Facebook friends’ bodies (Cowden). Doctor Harry Brandt, director of The Center for Eating Disorders mentions, “Facebook is making it easier for people to spend more time and energy criticizing their own bodies and wishing they looked like someone else […] In this age of modern technology and constant access to SmartPhones and the internet, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to remove themselves from images and other triggers that promote negative body image, low self-esteem and may ultimately contribute to eating disorders” (Shaffer).

Many people become obsessed with that ideal thin body and the results of the survey mentioned above underlines that people tend to pursue a weight-loss diet because they draw a negative image of their bodies when comparing with other users’ images. It is clear that, at one point, Facebook is enjoyable and its policy is not other than to bring people together faster and easier, though it still affects people’s lives in many ways. Some people are more liable to be isolated from real life, which include “in person” connections and real entertainment activities.

Others end up losing their jobs or getting low grades, in students’ cases, because of the time spent on Facebook. Some could become sick because of the obsession of having that perfect body image, which Facebook promotes, and they start pursuing wrong diets plans, which lead to improper meals. A large numbers of surveys show the negative effects of Facebook to society and the doctors are also worried about the approach that society have for social media websites, especially Facebook. Generally speaking, Facebook mostly affects many people because they neglect real life and spend way too much time on chatting, posting on and checking their profile. The risks and the negative sides of social media will be reduced if the people will use a lower amount of virtual socializing.


BBC, News “Online networking ‘harms health’.” N.p 09.02.2009. Web. 18 Apr 2012. .

Black, Nathan. “‘Facebook Depression’ Affecting Teens, Report Says.” Christian Post 29 March 2011, n. pag. Print.

Bugeja, Michael. “Facing the Facebook.” Chronicle of Higher Education 27 February 2006, Daily Ed. n. pag. Print.

Choney, Suzanne. “Facebook use can lower grades by 20 percent, study says.” N.p., 2010. Web.

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