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Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Oh the joys of social networking. We can keep up with longtime friends, meet new friends, post jokes, quotes, stories, prayer requests and so much more. It’s certainly become a trend across the world.

However, social networking can create a new problem for many; a problem that mental health professionals are sure to see more of as the months and years pass. I’m talking about addiction… to Facebook (or any other social networking site).

Addiction to Internet material is not in itself a completely new thing. We have seen it for years with pornography and buying sites such as eBay. But social networking sites pose a different concern and that is, a desire for so many of us to “have to” post everything on these sites. What causes the urge to update our statuses once a day or even several times a day? What is compelling us to stay connected?

I can’t answer those questions for anyone else. Yet, I do wonder if it’s because we all crave relationships with other human beings or perhaps we crave the attention or the laughs. Maybe we are struggling with mental illness ourselves and are using these sites as a cry for help. Again, I don’t know.

For myself, I have tried to scale back the number of status updates I write or the amount of pictures I upload. Why? Because I knew for myself that I was relying in some ways on my 1,032 friends on Facebook for something… whether a laugh, a shoulder to cry on or whatever.

What about you? Are you finding yourself talking in a social networking language most times and feeling compelled to update statuses or upload photos every time something happens? Is it causing arguments among those with whom you interact daily in person? Or, are you a once-a-month “poster” who just checks in to see, truly, how old (and new) friends are doing?

Something to consider…

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I will and apparently Facebook will as well.

Today, the social network will announce it’s new anti-bullying tools in the White House conference for bullying prevention and I am pleased with this news. An article can be found here.

Bullying has been around as long as humans have existed. It’s not a new phenomenon. However, the awareness that is now being raised surrounding bullying is something that should have been done decades ago.

As a counselor trainee, I have learned many things about the effects of bullying. My sister, Candice, is an intermediate school counselor at one of our local schools and I’m certain she can attest to the bullying that takes place in the schools on a daily basis. My professor, Dr. Butch Losey, has done much work regarding the issue and his most recent book, “Bullying, Suicide and Homicide,” will be available in April. He has shared stories with us about how bullying has led children, teens and even adults to end their own lives. He’s also shared stories of how he himself was bullied as an adolescent. His knowledge is endless and his work has included the development of assessment scales, implementation of school-based anti-bullying programs and more.

But this isn’t to re-write Dr. Losey’s resume. Instead, I want to speak to the heart of the matter: Those who bully are those who are unhappy with themselves or their lives, think the waters must part for them because they have narcissistic personality traits, and/or they are seeking some sort of attention from people around them — after all, negative attention is better than no attention.

When we project our own personal issues onto others by way of bullying, rarely do we stop to consider the long-term consequences of what we may say or do. Humans are humans. We are ALL the same at the core and we all deserve equal opportunity. Your love life is not more important than mine. Your job is not more important than mine. Your opinions are not more important than mine. Your life as a whole is not more important than mine.

Trying to inadvertently solve problems through bullying, violence or another inhumane act only creates more problems. It certainly changes others’ perceptions of the person doing the acts. I’m just trying to get us to see that bullying doesn’t need to happen. Yes, it will continue in the schools because childhood and adolescence are times of uncertainty, peer-pressure and figuring out our place in the world.

I ask you, what if we strip away all of the unnecessary material things in life, take away the ability to see (literally) and just accepted everyone for who they are? What do you think would happen then?

According to the Facebook article on Mashable, the social network takes down content that violates its policies. Individuals have the right and ability to report instances of cyberbullying, as well as content posted that is offensive, demeaning, sexual, etc. The article says Facebook users will now have the ability to privately message the person who posted the inappropriate content and can have an authority figure included in the reporting process.

Furthermore, the article states that Facebook will bring educational tools such as videos and materials to be downloaded.

Let us all join in the cause and do our part.

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