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Family Caregiving for Seniors - SageCorner Blog

Facebook Depression

by Deah on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 12:04 PM

So, back in the day before the internet, I compared myself. I remember distinctly always looking at one girl in elementary school and watching the clothes she wore so I could approximate how cool she seemed. I would actually take hand-written notes so I could go home and pick out clothing to sort of match her style. Of course, even if I “got it right” on any given day, she still – in my mind – was way cooler than I.

Luckily, there was only one girl cool enough to trigger this kind of envy and comparison for me – I did not carry this over to all the girls in my class or school. I also outgrew this after I realized she was not as glamorous or amazing as she appeared to be. It turned out that after getting to know her better, she was thankfully “regular” and average just like me.

Nowadays, we have all sorts of ways of watching other cool people all day. Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook - to name a few. According to use studies, Facebook is becoming the social media platform used by the over 55 crowd. There are good reasons for that. Facebook is easy to use, stores amazing amounts of photos, and is a great way to stay connected to grandchildren, extended family, and civic organizations.

However, there is a growing body of research that shows the more hours a person spends looking at social media like Facebook, the more symptoms they have of depression. The mediating factor appears to be the idea of “social comparison” like I experienced with my seemingly uber-cool second grade friend. When we compare ourselves to others, we most often feel worse about ourselves even when the comparison is totally unrealistic. In the case of social media the “unreality” of it all is even more pronounced. People rarely, if ever, post their humdrum Saturdays of staying in their pre-shower sweatpants cleaning out the basement. No one posts photos of their fight with their spouse or talks about their 2am sleepless worries about an adult child. No one posts the anxiety before having the boss over for dinner either. They just post their brief amazing “ready-for-magazine” moments and we then compare our normal average day (or our worst days) to this image - and fall very short.

The catch phrase advice for this has become “don’t compare your insides with other people’s highlight reel.” I think it is worth noting. Another wise recommendation is to limit your time with social media. If you find yourself feeling worse after being online looking at all your amazing friends and their amazing lives, it may be time to put your phone down and go embrace and enjoy your own wonderfully average day “in real life.”

Blogs Parent Separator Deah Bowes
attitude
being overwhelmed
dependence
depression
internet use
lessons
self-worth
Author
Deah

Tips and ideas to help care for a senior loved one at home.

  

Lori Paterno, M.Ed. Has a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling From Penn State University.  She has over 20 years professional experience in Human Services, Counseling, and Education.

Lori Paterno, M.Ed. Has a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling From Penn State University.  She has over 20 years professional experience in Human Services, Counseling, and Education. 
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