Monday, November 5, 2012

Can Facebook Make You Blue?
“Facebook depression” may have been a term you’ve seen. Or, perhaps like me, you only had this sense that Facebook leads to depression, but didn’t know where you had heard it. The fact is, since the release of a report by the American Academy of Pediatrics claiming Facebook can lead to depression (O’Keefe), reports of “Facebook depression” have been circling around the news. “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” reported NBCnews (Tanner).

This would be concerning, if it were true. However, not long after the release of AAP’s report, a study done at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found no link between Facebook usage and depression. The conclusion of the report includes these words: “At present, advising adolescent patients or parents on the risks of “Facebook depression” may be premature” (Jelenchick). Additionally, a recent study was released in the International Journal of Research Studies in Educational Technology, which found no relation between Facebook use and depression in Filipino adolescents (Datu).
With the release of the AAP’s report, it was also noted that Facebook depression would especially affect those teens that already had a low self-image. In this sense, it could be argued that Facebook can be detrimental to adolescent mental health. However, in another study conducted by, among others, the researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison study, it was found that students tend to post “statuses” indicating depression. As such, the study suggests that “social networking sites could be an innovative avenue for…identifying students at risk for depression” (Moreno).

So before you shut down your Facebook page to avoid depression, consider the data. If you are a mentally healthy, at least somewhat social human being, post and browse away.

Diana Tanner


  1. This is a really interesting topic that I had never though about before. With the way your post starts, however, it took me a minute to figure what side of the issue you were arguing. Your video as well as the majority of your post talk about the reality of "Facebook depression", and then in the last little bit of your post you refute that "reality" with another study.
    Personally I'm not convinced of your argument. Maybe in a longer post/paper (like with the issue paper we need to write later in the semester) you could have a lot of information about argument for the reality of "Facebook depression", but with as short as this post is it feels like you're proving your own argument wrong.

    -Hunter Rees

  2. Thank you for your feedback Hunter. To be honest, I originally went into this topic thinking I would be arguing that Facebook can lead to depression. However, as soon as I did some research, I found a large amount of evidence to suggest just the opposite. Because of the overwhelming evidence against Facebook depression,I think I may have overcompensated the counter-argument in the post. I will try to avoid doing that in my issues paper. In my paper I will also be more clear about my argument earlier.

  3. I found this really interesting. I had never heard of Facebook depression before this. The video was a great feature of your post and really helps your audience gain a feel for what is meant by Facebook depression and briefly summarizes the effects for them as well. I would advise you to put more of yourself and your own experience or opinion in this argument, and also assume some opposition and respond to it.

    1. Thank you for your suggestions Heather, I will definitely take them into consideration for my issues paper.

  4. Interesting topic and wonderful post. I think both sides have excellent points and substantial room for argument. The question is: which one are you arguing for? Personally, I think the personal situation determines the affects of facebook. When I'm in a bad mood or lonely, facebook has helped me connect with friends, but also feel alone. When I'm having a great day, facebook has let me share that with others, but also led me to feel like I'm missing out on something. Unfortunately, I think that only option is more research. :D Cyberbulling has become so large and dangerous a topic I think it is in its own category. Either face it head on, or don't mention it that way. If you use the word cyberbulling, people will begin to expect different things than if you said harassment by schoolmates. Try to avoid a entering a difficult and lengthy battle. Cyberbulling has become like abortion. The post could probably use shorter paragraphs. I hope you enjoyed this project. You did very well. :)
    Ammon Mayfield

  5. Thank you for your feedback Ammon! Facebook can effect your mood, but I am arguing - and I will try to make this clearer in my paper - that Facebook cannot cause depression. I will also try to avoid cyberbulling in my paper, because, as you suggest, it will distract from the true argument of my paper.

  6. I don't really understand what you are arguing. Your post seems to be about several studies that are in opposition to each other. You jump back and forth from Facebook causes depression to it doesn't have any influence. You need to pick a side and make it clear to the reader. I think that the initial flip flop was good because it drew my attention to the issue, but then you kept switching sides.

    Also, considering whatever side you are on, how does that affect me as a reader? I didn't feel connected to the issue or called to act in any way. You were just informing me of two sides of an argument. Put yourself in it, pick a side, an offer a solution for the reader.

    I think that this is a very good issue, an interesting issue that I haven't really heard about before.