Have you ever interrupted a conversation with someone in person to check a Facebook notification? How many times a day do you check your newsfeed or touch your smartphone? Do you notice a skip in your step when you get a lot of “likes” on a post or picture you’ve shared? If any of these questions make you uncomfortable, you need to read Facehooked: How Facebook Affects Our Emotions, Relationships, and Lives by Dr. Suzana E. Flores.
In this comprehensive look at the most popular social media platform, Flores sets out to help readers understand the effect Facebook is having on their lives and society at large. She uses case studies, personal experience from her private practice and interviews with subjects around the globe to highlight the dangers in allowing this form of social media to overtake offline lives.
Flores, a licensed clinical psychologist and professor of psychology, grew alarmed when patients began presenting with symptoms seemingly caused by their use – or overuse – of this “fun” social outlet. She and other colleagues witnessed everything from anxiety disorders to hospitalizations and even suicide attempts directly related to patients’ Facebook profiles and “friends.”
Citing these case studies along with several academic reports, Dr. Flores warns that without careful deliberation and attention, all of us are susceptible to negative impact from the alternate reality that is Facebook. The platform is set up to make performers out of us instead of participants in life. She argues that many people create a pseudo-self and eagerly await validation for their choices and self-expression.
For adolescents who are still forming their identities and sense of self, the dangers seem obvious. We have all heard of horrendous incidents of cyber-bullying involving Facebook used as a weapon. But this isn’t limited to the kids. Professionals have seen marriages break up, jobs lost and functioning adults spiral into depression due largely to negative interactions on Facebook.
And if you think you’re immune, Flores challenges the reader to think about how many times you interrupt your real life – dinner with family or friends, a walk with your kids, coffee with a girlfriend – to engage in your online life. Citing alarming statistics, but doing so in a conversational tone, Flores seeks to start a dialogue about the overuse of social media and she largely succeeds. She offers her take on things as a professional in the field and doesn’t rely solely on reports and data.
With clarity and plenty of examples, Flores draws on her experience as a psychologist to let us know why we should all be concerned. Technology changes people, and social media – with Facebook as the biggest guy on the block – is changing our definition of privacy and reality. She’s not an alarmist though. She points out that positive interactions using social media happen all the time and should be the desired goal. The book includes plenty of tips that readers can use to evaluate their own use of social media. Parents, educators, and anyone with a Facebook account will benefit from her insight and suggestions.
For more information on Dr. Suzana E. Flores and Facehooked: How Facebook affects Our Emotions, Relationships, and Lives, checkout the author’s website.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00N041G92]