Nothing like psychological problems

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Two meta-analyzes conducted on 27 thousand users by Italian psychologists define the psychological traits of the problematic users of the social network. The expert: “The problem is not to abstain, but to limit the importance that is given to what happens on Fb”.

Social problems

The problem is not so much, or not only, the time we spend on Facebook but the importance we give to what happens on the social network. Some young people if after having changed the profile image do not immediately receive 90 likes and hearts, they think they are worth nothing. This is what emerges from two studies by the Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialization at the University of Padua.

“It is the investment of oneself in the social network and how the reactions are managed, or the non-reactions of others, which determines whether the use made of them is positive or negative”, explains Claudia Marino, psychologist at the Department of developmental psychology and socialization at the University of Padua and co-author of the two studies.

These are two research conducted by Italian psychologists, one published in Computers in Human Behavior, the other in the Journal of Affective Disorders. They investigated the problematic use of the most famous social network on the planet and together outlined the identikit, so to speak, of the problematic user of Fb. “These are the first two meta-analyzes published on the theme, made out of a total of 27 thousand Fb users, all between 16 and 47 years old and with an average age of 24 – explains CMarino – We have worked on a very large sample, and this gives power to the results In addition to the studies already published, we have also examined research still in progress by questioning the authors “.

“Nothing like? I’m worthless”, so on Facebook adolescents are in crisis

The problem is not so much, or not only, the time that passes on facebook but the importance that is given to what happens on the social. Some young people if after having changed the profile image do not immediately receive 90 likes and hearts, they think they are worth nothing. This is what emerges from two studies by the Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialization at the University of Padua.

“It is the investment of oneself in the social network and how the reactions are managed, or the non-reactions of others, which determines whether the use made of them is positive or negative”, explains Claudia Marino, psychologist at the Department of developmental psychology and socialization at the University of Padua and co-author of the two studies.

These are two research conducted by Italian psychologists, one published in Computers in Human Behavior, the other in the Journal of Affective Disorders. They investigated the problematic use of the most famous social network on the planet and together outlined the identikit, so to speak, of the problematic user of Fb. “These are the first two meta-analyzes published on the theme, made out of a total of 27 thousand Fb users, all between 16 and 47 years old and with an average age of 24 – explains CMarino – We have worked on a very large sample, and this gives power to the results In addition to the studies already published, we have also examined research still in progress by questioning the authors “.

• Poblematic Use

First of all, what is meant by the problematic use of a social network? “A compulsive use, which involves a level of excessive concern for what happens online, and lack of self-regulation of the level of concern as regards the social happening: a type of use that inevitably negatively impacts in daily life, in study, in work and in family”. But let’s get to the results.

• More Distress Less Joy Of Living

Users who use Facebook in a problematic way are more at risk of psychological distress, that is of anguish, higher levels of anxiety and depression. And they have less pleasure to live and less satisfaction for their life.

• Self esteem

“We have also seen – adds Marino – that the problematic use of Facebook is associated more often with low self-esteem”. But it is not complicated to establish if the low self-esteem is the cause or effect of the pathological use of the social? “This is so, we have analyzed observational studies, which do not investigate the causality of events, but we believe that these are loops, a vicious circle: those who feel a loser tend to make Fb a problematic use, but it is also true that those who use Fb in a problematic way tend to have a poor idea of ​​themselves. The elements are mutually reinforcing, so to speak. ”

• Nevrotism and coscienziosity

It is more likely to be a problematic user of Facebook who has high levels of neurotism “which means – explains Marino – have low levels of emotional stability. On the contrary we have found a negative association between conscientiousness and problematic use of the social: in practice those who tend to deepen, to analyze, those with a high sense of duty generally say that FB does not waste time “.

• Extroveved and introverse

“We have also investigated three traits that we tend to relate to sociality – resumes the psychologist – that is, extroversion, openees (openness of mind, ed) and agreeableness, an English word that we translate with pleasure. Three traits that, we have seen, are not directly associated with the problematic use of Fb “.

• The time is not enough

Instead the time is yes: there is a positive association between the number of hours spent on FB and problematic use of the vehicle. “The most problematic people spend more time on the social even if – the author repeats – the time is not enough to define the use of social problems, other elements must always be evaluated”.

• The motivations

Finally, the authors investigated the motivations for using Fb, noting that problematic users are more often driven by inner motives. Meaning? “The need to go to Fb often recurs to mitigate negative inner emotions, for example the lack of being an outcast, a loser. Or conformism “.

• The comments

Facebook is a very useful tool and, if used correctly and controlled, can even play a positive role in the perception of social capital, sense of belonging to the community and social support. We know this and many of us experience it every day … “it is so – confirms the scholar – the results of our studies tell us that rather than limiting the use, in terms of frequency and time spent, it would be good to limit yourself to the attribution of importance of things that happen online. In short, it is the investment of oneself in the social network and how we manage the reactions, or the non-reactions of others, which determines the quality of the use of the medium. It would be useless and anachronistic to prohibit the use or ask users to abstain from Facebook. The indication is: let’s use it but consciously “.

• The action? We start in schools

From the point of view of the interventions – concludes the expert – we have built preventive models that we are spreading in primary and secondary schools of Padua and Rovigo to accompany the new digital natives in the formation of their individual and social identity through a positive use of technologies and we hold training courses for teachers

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