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Facebook Is Great for Shareholders but Bad for Your Health

With over 2 billion users and a market cap of nearly $450 billion, Facebook is a global juggernaut that has demonstrated the amazing power of online social networks. As a company, Facebook epitomizes health, but Investopedia reports that its most avid users may be suffering emotionally and physically.

The power of Facebook is derived entirely from its network of users and cannot be ignored if you want to share valuable information with as many people as possible. For many, Facebook has entirely supplanted traditional media outlets. When used correctly, it can be an excellent source of news and a convenient platform for viewing content. It is also an easy way to interact with friends and family. 

On average, each Facebook user spends 50 minutes using the site daily, which is more time than is spent on any other leisure activity except for watching TV. In the U.S., Americans spend just 19 minutes, on average, reading each day and just 17 minutes on exercise. Of course there are many users who spend far more than just 50 minutes a day perusing their Facebook feed.

Facebook can negatively impact both your emotional and physical health. Researchers in Denmark found that being inundated with idealized images and photos can lead to resentment, envy and depression. The good news is that a break of only one week from Facebook led to significant increases in satisfaction and emotional health. 

The potential problems caused by social media use are especially serious for teenagers. U.S. teens spend about nine hours daily using electronic media for entertainment purposes.  Overall social media use, and especially nighttime use, was associated with poorer sleep quality, lower self-esteem and higher levels of anxiety and depression among 12- to 18-year-olds. Another concern is that social media usage is a sedentary activity. 

Facebook isn't content to have the average user spend "just" 50 minutes a day. They'd rather it become a platform that's on all day to become basically a background for your life. The goal is to create a walled garden where all of your information needs can be met and you never need to leave Facebook’s online world. To achieve this end, they are entirely dependent on you the user. Without people there is no network. 

If you feel worse after browsing Facebook, consider signing off permanently. There are many strategies to break free from social media addiction — quitting cold turkey, setting a time limit or checking just once a day among them. Another option is mindfulness. Mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds or distracting yourself from the present moment with various apps is essentially the opposite of mindfulness. 

Practicing mindfulness can be as simple as focusing on the flow of your breath and the rise and fall of your belly. This can help you to stay better focused on any task at hand. If you find yourself being drawn back into compulsively checking your email, text messages and social media feeds, stop yourself and focus your attention back to the task at hand.

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