Don’t Let Loneliness Make You Sick

Lonely Bench by Mezuss

Lonely Bench by Mezuss

Loneliness doesn’t just hurt emotionally, but physically, too. At first glance, this seems counter-intuitive. How can a feeling have tangible, physical effects on our health? It’s “just” a feeling. Well, research has proven that logic wrong.

According to

“Studies of elderly people and social isolation concluded that those without adequate social interaction were twice as likely to die prematurely.

The increased mortality risk is comparable to that from smoking. And loneliness is about twice as dangerous as obesity.

Social isolation impairs immune function and boosts inflammation, which can lead to arthritis, type II diabetes, and heart disease. Loneliness is breaking our hearts, but as a culture we rarely talk about it.”

And if you think you’re the only one lonely, you’re not alone. says:

“Loneliness has doubled: 40 percent of adults in two recent surveys said they were lonely, up from 20 percent in the 1980s.”

In the age of the Internet, sites like Facebook and Twitter have become wildly popular. Facebook users say that they like to connect with others online, sharing their lives with their personal online communities. But there is an intimacy that is lacking in online connections, and some people, including researchers, are slowly realizing it.  There is a hole in our hearts, and internet-based social networking has proven insufficient to fill it.

“All of our Internet interactions aren’t helping and may be making loneliness worse. A recent study of Facebook users found that the amount of time you spend on the social network is inversely related to how happy you feel throughout the day.

Even those “popular” users who have upwards of 1,000 “Facebook friends” are not faring any better than those with less.

“In terms of human interactions, the number of people we know is not the best measure. In order to be socially satisfied, we don’t need all that many people. According to Cacioppo the key is in the quality, not the quantity of those people. We just need several on whom we can depend and who depend on us in return.”

In my own opinion, it’s perfectly ok to connect with people online. It can be truly fun and rewarding, especially when you can interact with like-minded people who care about the same things you do. I think blogging is wonderful, and I love to do it. But if you are very lonely, don’t rely solely on your computer to fill that need. Make friends outside of the internet- those friendships will be even more rewarding because you can see the person’s facial expressions when they talk, hug them, hang out with them, and in general have a real human connection that you can never get online. Pets are great, too, for the bond and unconditional love they provide.

The mind and body are deeply connected. What you think and feel mentally has a profound impact on your physical self. So taking care of any emotional or psychiatric problems you may face is very important to your overall well being.

For more on studies about loneliness, go to


Your Personal Information Is No Longer Yours

I found this video on the blog, thisgotmyattention, who reblogged it from renardmoreau.

We all know that Facebook collects mounds of data on its users. The more you post, the more info they get from you. But just how much they get is staggering. The video reveals to unfortunate Facebook users that not only are their posts and pictures stored in some giant virtual vault, but that even deleted posts are kept in that giant virtual vault. Nothing you erase can really be erased, and if someone wants to get to it and use it, they can. Facebook also stores information from your Facebook friends, too, including their locations as they send you messages!

So what does Facebook do with all that info? They won’t tell.

And what about Google? A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how Google can not only find your blog through searches (which isn’t bad), but finds all the comments you post on other people’s blogs as well (which is terrible). What’s worse, Google has linked itself with tons of other social networking sites, as well as many other websites in which you have to enter a password to access. Have you noticed that to get into certain sites, you can just enter your Google password? That’s an example. It’s dizzying to think how much information Google can amass through not only its own records on us, but through the records kept by all the sites it’s linked to.

Complicating matters even more is what the federal government is doing with our information through it’s spy programs that mercilessly mine through our internet data.

So what do we do? Should we just stop using the internet? Some have already come to this conclusion. But should we have to? Or do we have a right to use the Web without looking over our shoulders?

Teens Now Say Facebook is a ‘Social Burden,’ Study Finds

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of


Teens are actually getting fed up with Facebook, according to a report released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center. The study surveyed 802 teens between the ages of 12 and 17 last September about their Facebook use. An article was written about the report’s findings by the Huffington Post on May 21 of this year.

The report’s findings are no doubt troubling to Facebook, given that the teen demographic has long been crucial to its massive success. The root of the “problem” (which is most likely what Facebook’s investors are calling it) is spelled out thus in the report of the study:

“Facebook has become a ‘social burden‘ for teens. While Facebook is still deeply integrated in teens’ everyday lives, it is sometimes seen as a utility and an obligation rather than an exciting new platform that teens can claim as their own. Facebook, teens say, has been overrun by parents, fuels unnecessary social “drama” and gives a mouthpiece to annoying oversharers who drone on about inane events in their lives.”

The Huffington Post summed up another important part of the study:

They’re deleting, lying and blocking- Some three-quarters of Facebook users have purged friends on Facebook, 58 percent have edited or deleted content they’ve shared and 26 percent have tried to protect their privacy by sharing false information. Among all teens online (not just Facebook users), 39 percent have lied about their age.”

Another interesting find of the Pew study is that the typical teen has approximately 300 Facebook “friends.” But exactly who are these friends? Well, seventy percent of teens are friends with their parents, 30 percent are friends with teachers or coaches, and 33 percent are friends with people they’ve never met in person.

In some ways, the results are surprising- most people, teens and adults alike, have Facebook pages. In fact, a majority of the teens in the study, including those that complained about the site, still maintain pages on it. Some said that they continue using the site because they want to stay up on the social scene. Yet, as the study clearly shows, a large portion of their Facebook social circles are not real-life friends. A second possible reason for continued use of the site, though not suggested in the report, could be peer-pressure. Teens are very sensitive to what their peers say and do, and feel that if they don’t follow the crowd, they will be socially penalized by way of bullying or simple exclusion from peer activities, such as parties and dating.

To adults who have either never used the site, have an account but use it rarely, or have had accounts and deleted them, the news comes as no surprise. These adults often give the same reasons as the teens in the study for their own lack of interest in Facebook. Which begs the question- is Facebook just a failed social experiment, or is it here to stay? It seems society (and the social media industry) has yet to fully understand the human mind enough to properly predict how it will respond to new technology. After all, we didn’t exactly evolve to meet and interact with each other using machines.