The less-than-careful ways people use Facebook may increase stress and impact lives. You can find yourself compromised if you’re not careful, and even if you are, some of what happens on social media sites may be beyond your control.
Consider this: Colleges and universities vet potential students via Facebook. Employers screen candidates via Facebook and Google. Divorce lawyers collect evidence from those pages. Can Facebook increase your stress levels? You betcha. Your online persona may come back to haunt you in alarming ways.
Friends post jokes about friends. Family members post embarrassing photos. Site users lose inhibitions – cussing, slamming others, saying things they’d never express orally. People post offhand remarks, one-ups, and so-theres. It’s common to describe overindulging in alcohol at a party. Here’s news: That stuff will be online for all to see, forever.
Media experts say that family feuds and fights between acquaintances are often carried out in social media. Spats that once took place in private are executed publicly online. So are love affairs. Peruse Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other sites and get an eyeful. That’s key to why stress levels are shooting upward.
Even prudent posters may find themselves stressing over the amount of time they spend in social media. They have less time to meet job deadlines. School work goes unfinished. Household tasks get put aside to the last possible moment.
Others get totally stressed when reading what was said about themselves. People get anxious when their number of Facebook “friends” doesn’t suit their expectations or when a lover or close friend flirts online.
Add it up. Stress mounts and our health may suffer when we live part of our lives right out there on social media sites. How do you know you’re stressing?Do you feel anger, fear, distinct annoyance, or any other negative when you’re visiting social sites?Do you feel compelled to lash back at something someone posted or a need to apologize for your own postings?Is a chunk of your time devoted to worrying about comments, photos, and relationships on Facebook?What real life responsibilities, activities, and relationships are suffering because of too much time online?
Take charge. If you’re out of control, pull the plug. Delete social media accounts, take a big step back, and reorganize your life. Sometimes, a few adjustments will solve the problem.
1. Consider what you post before you post it. Don’t air family problems, complain about people, or brag about your new love. Nothing is as sure as change. Do you want that info to be public forever?
2. Laugh. If a less-than-flattering photo or comment turns up, have a laugh and never look at it again. Don’t let silly stuff alter your self-esteem.
3. Restrict time devoted to online relationships and increase time devoted to real life interactions.
4. Keep perspective. Facebook friends don’t define you. It’s no biggie if you have more or fewer than someone else. Followers can be bought or bribed. It’s a marketplace, not a popularity contest.
Social media can be harmless and fun. It just takes some net savvy to keep yourself safe and calm. Guard your personal information. Recognize the differences between real life and cyber life. Post only that which you wouldn’t mind your mother, teacher, employer, and lover reading.