Click Addiction: Seaholm Students Gauge Life on “Likes”

*name changed for privacy

**statistic from a Highlander Survey

Sweat drips down junior Kate Johnson’s* cheek. She starts to panic.

Her breaths begin to get shorter and she cannot stop staring at the screen.

She clicks refresh again and finally she can breathe. She made it — 50 likes.

Johnson has just updated her Facebook profile picture and is experiencing what a recent study from Institute of Information Systems at Berlin’s Humboldt University calls “Facebook Envy”.

“Participation in social networks, such as Facebook, can cause negative feelings and reduce members’ life satisfaction,” Researchers noted in a January 21 press release

Like Johnson, 60 percent ** of Seaholm students admit to feeling envious towards others likes and attention on Facebook.

Dr. Pamela Vankampen, a licensed counselor in Bloomfield Hills, said addiction to things like Facebook likes and overall social media is something she sees in her practice.

“I admit I judge people on how many likes they have on their profile picture,” Johnson said.

Facebook envy involves people desiring a large amount of attention on social media.

According to the Humboldt study, this can come in the form of likes, comments, and posts. The study also included that beyond just looking at the attention they get on their own information, people with Facebook envy constantly compare themselves to others profiles.

“I really like to have the more likes on my pictures than my friends,” Johnson said.

The Humboldt study concluded that people with Facebook envy often find experiences such as scrolling through the news feed particularity painful when they notice someone getting more attention then them.

Johnson said that she often feels depressed after comparing herself to her Facebook friends on her newsfeed.

“It makes me feel like people don’t like me as much,” Johnson said.

The survey in the Humboldt study connected general happiness to envy and stress on Facebook.

“Passive use of Facebook heightens invidious emotions that, in turn, adversely affect users’ satisfaction with their lives,” said the Humboldt study.

Co-author of the study and researcher Helena Wenninger came out with a statement based on the research in the study.

“Considering the fact that Facebook use is a worldwide phenomenon and envy is a universal feeling, a lot of people are subject to these painful consequences,” Wenninger said.

The Humboldt study included that these painful consequences often include depression and anxiety.

“Facebook makes me mad sometimes but overall it’s good,” Johnson said. “That way I know what’s going on in my friends lives.”

The study concluded that the sheer amount of information that Facebook makes available to users could increase the magnitude of Facebook envy. The overwhelming amount of information on Facebook is not what people are accustomed to in their daily lives and they study concluded that this could lead to stressful effects.

According to the study, anyone on Facebook is susceptible to Facebook envy. The more time a person spends on the site, the more likely they are to have addictive tendencies towards it.

If you or someone you know is letting Facebook dominate their personal happiness, it is possible to intervene.

According to the Humboldt study, Facebook envy is an effect of modern culture.

Preventing Facebook anxiety on a greater scale will take a major change.

The depression and anxiety imposed on victims of Facebook envy can be treated on an individual basis.

“Even though they may not say it, if a friend starts to change their daily behaviors, they may be depressed,” adolescent therapist and former Seaholm Counselor Dennis Rozema said.

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