LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - For some, it's a source of entertainment. While for others, it's a trap that has ensnared them into feeling socially isolated. A new study reveals that more Facebook users are starting to grow green with envy over the idea that their friends are much happier than them.
"I think that's the danger is someone who is already vulnerable. They are already having negative ideas about themselves, low self-esteem, negative thoughts and then they get on Facebook and see all these wonderful things that people seem to be doing and experiencing and it can make them feel even worse," said Dr. Deborah Burton, a licensed therapist for the Counseling Center of East Texas in Lufkin.
The study listed college students as the most likely to suffer from Facebook depression.
"It seems like people have perfect lives and you're sitting there (thinking) I feel crappy. Look at all these people enjoying themselves. They're all smiley and having a good time. That's all you see on Facebook," said Antonio Luna, a sophomore at Angelina College.
"I've seen people get jealous about that cause their friends are all out of town and doing all this cool stuff and then they are stuck at home," said Brandon Thacker, a junior at Angelina College.
Burton says it's usually the passive users that fall more into a depressive spiral when it comes to the social media site.
"They also look at friendship comparisons like the social relationships like how many people have done a like on a picture versus how many people are liking mine," Burton said.
Many people who have suffered from Facebook depression in the past, Burton said, have found ways to block out the social envy and are even benefiting from the social media site.
"I think just encouraging face-to-face connections and if you are going to get on Facebook be a more active participant so you don't feel like you are just watching life go by while you're on it," Burton said.
Markeya Moore, a junior at Angelina College, says she doesn't take Facebook too seriously and thinks it's silly to get wrapped up in social envy.
"Feel happy for others because jealousy should not bring you down and make you feel worse about your own life. That's not right. You should feel happy about who you are and what you are doing with your life," Moore said.
Trevor Hadnot, a sophomore at the college, agrees.
"I'm just seeing what they are doing. It's basic entertainment to me. I don't care what they are saying," Hadnot said.
Burton says the best way to overcome Facebook depression is by maintaining a positive attitude and sharing those happy thoughts with friends.
"A lot of times people will post inspirational sayings and quotes and I have found that some of my clients will actually bring those in because it's so helpful to them. I think there is a positive aspect to Facebook, as well," Burton said.