“Like it” or loathe it, Facebook is here to stay. And regardless if you’re someone who can’t make a move without updating your status or if you’re more of a casual Facebook stalker, the truth is that if you’re not on Facebook, you’re probably missing out on a lot.
Don’t believe us? Just check out this hilarious YouTube video – it might be funny but it’s also sadly true.
So just how much of an impact is Facebook and other social media having on us as a human race? According to the research, the results are both good and bad.
The good, the bad and the ugly
One study has shown that the more time adolescent girls spend in front of Facebook, the more their chances of developing a negative body image and various eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia and exaggerated dieting.
Another study published in March 2011, found that "Facebook depression" was becoming a real problem and doctors warned that this ‘condition’ could affect troubled teens who obsess over the online site.
However, researchers disagreed on whether this could simply an extension of depression some kids feel in other circumstances, or a distinct condition linked with using the online site.
But there are unique aspects of Facebook that can make it a particularly tough social landscape to navigate for kids already dealing with poor self-esteem, said Dr Gwenn O'Keeffe, a Boston-area paediatrician and lead author of new American Academy of Paediatrics social media guidelines.
With in-your-face friends' tallies, status updates and photos of happy-looking people having great times, Facebook pages can make some kids feel even worse if they think they don't measure up.
The study also raised the issue of online harassment which the doctors said "can cause profound psychosocial outcomes", including suicide.
"Facebook is where all the teens are hanging out now. It's their corner store," O'Keeffe said.
Not all bad news
However it’s not all doom and gloom for Facebook users, and O’Keefe admitted that the benefits of kids using social media sites like Facebook shouldn't be overlooked - such as connecting with friends and family, sharing pictures and exchanging ideas.
"A lot of what's happening is actually very healthy, but it can go too far," she said.
Another doctor who shared this sentiment was Dr Megan Moreno, a University of Wisconsin adolescent medicine specialist who has studied online social networking among college students, and she said that using Facebook can enhance feelings of social connectedness among well-adjusted kids, and have the opposite effect on those prone to depression.
Parents shouldn't get the idea that using Facebook "is going to somehow infect their kids with depression", she said.
Sources: SAPA, Reuters Health, Health24, AFP, YouTube
(Amy Froneman, Health24, July 2011)
A good website for safety issues online: .
Visit for daily updates and health tips.