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Sunday, 22 January 2012

Yes, Facebook addicts, must get out to socialize more!


Facebook addicts should get out and socialise more

The Star/Asia News Network

WITH every new level of technology comes a corresponding wave of casualties.

From theft victims careless with their bank ATM cards to gullible folk cheated in online scams, the story is familiar enough.

So today we see the rise of Facebook addicts. The fact that this involves victims without criminal perpetrators does not make it any less serious.

Facebook addiction has been known to affect the psychological and physical health of its victims.

It also affects the personal relationships that victims had, or might have had, with others around them.

It is therefore a personal, domestic and social problem. The affliction is universally acknowledged by health professionals who have dubbed it Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD).

It is compulsive, invasive of one's personal life, distorts priorities, damages one's capacity to relate to others around them and disorientates one to reality.

There are withdrawal symptoms, pangs of “cold turkey” and it is all downright senseless and wasteful.
How can it then be addressed effectively?

Relying on addicts to stop their addiction is not going to work. Neither will legislation, since Facebook can all too easily be accessed through computers or smartphones.

With children and young adults, FAD is particularly pernicious because it eats away at their health in their formative years.

Yet, it is with young addicts that the problem is perhaps easier to avoid with prudent parental intervention.

Adults as parents or guardians therefore have a responsibility to ensure that those under their care do not fall victim to FAD. And as adults anyway, with or without others under their care, they need to set an example by not falling victim themselves.

If push comes to shove, there is always the off switch.

For Malaysians to “have the most Facebook friends in the world” may at first sound gratifying, but in reality it is a condition ridden with problems and liabilities.

The best friends tend to be those you encounter in the flesh. A “friend” in cyberspace may be very unreal, whether as a notional friend of a friend, a fictional character, or even a predator.

If Malaysians have the most virtual friends in the world, it may well be that we have the least real friends in the world. And that would be another tragedy in itself.

Hi, I was a Facebook addict

I REFER to “Hooked on FB”  (Jan 20), on Facebook Addicton Disorder (FAD), and agree with Dr Nivashinie Mohan’s statement that people with this disorder “continue to go undetected because most addicts do not realise or admit they have a problem”.

If there had been a circle of addicts on the floor at the FAD forum, I would have introduced myself and said: “Hello everyone, I was a Facebook addict”.

When I decided to navigate to the “deactivate account” button last December, I thought I was making the hardest decision I would ever make, having been a Facebook member since 2006.

I did not have hundreds and thousands of friends (most of whom we ignore anyway and just concentrate on the five to ten so-called friends), but it was the excitement of waking up every morning literally dying to know what the rest of the world was up to.

I was an active lurker looking into my friends’ beautifully edited photos of where they went on holiday, what they cooked for their children last night, friends updating their status every five minutes (as if having a huge following on Twitter wasn’t enough) somebody’s wedding, graduation and etc.

After a while, I felt funny. Why is this so important? Why can’t we call, visit or text each other instead? Wouldn’t this be more intimate, more humanly possible to touch base sans the social network?

Aren’t we concerned about the security of our information over the Internet? A paedophile would have a field day ogling at our children’s profiles and the repercussions would be devastating.

And aren’t political and racial updates overly nauseating?

Don’t make me start with friends who actually upload positive thoughts by the dozen until you actually think they are really closet pessimists who crave attention (yes, that is yet another disorder).

Then again, self realisation is the best way to overcome any disorder, and admitting it is the next step to get oneself out of the problem. Who knows, maybe FAD sufferers may get help from support groups or toll free numbers in future.

To each his own, as the old saying goes.

For the majority, it is necessary to maintain one’s Facebook account as it is a vital part of one’s life and we are, as long as we are the ones in control.

For the minority, like me, we choose not to be the norm and will find other alternative communicating routes to get our messages across.

Seri Kembangan.

Have clear policy on FB for workers 

Bosses must devise solutions to deal with this IT challenge!

I WOULD like to share my opinion in relation to “Bosses face problem with workers wasting time on FB” (The Star, Jan 20). The use of social networking websites and its easy accessibility has posed a lot more challenges and problems to the employer than has been pointed out.

Social network, depending on the nature of the work, can be good or bad for productivity. For some it’s one of the most cost and time effective way to promote and achieve sales targets.

Some government agencies and NGOs use it in their work to reach more people and to better know their stakeholders.

For those who work long hours or are on the graveyard shift and are detached from family and friends, it may help reduce stress.

Social networking can be a recruitment tool. Some employers and recruitment agents use it to do background checks on employees.

On the converse, it can severely affect productivity as employees waste countless hours on social networking. When done in the office, it increases unwarranted Internet traffic and slows down office network speed.

A major issue which has got a lot of attention globally is employees making statements about their employers that are considered negative by the employer.

While statements which tend to lower the reputation of the employer in public can be considered libel, it is more complicated when it comes to employment relationships. There are two schools of thought.

In the UK, the employment tribunal upheld a decision by Apple to sack an employee for posting on Facebook his displeasure about his iPhone and various aspects of his company even though his remarks only reached certain people due to the privacy settings.

In the US, the National Labour Relations Board (NLRB) came to an opposite conclusion and found illegal a company’s decision to fire an employee based on disparaging remarks about her employer and on a work place incident she sent from her home computer 
I feel the UK approach is better. A negative statement by an employee can severely affect the employer. The company’s reputation is at stake, and it may affect the employer’s business goodwill and profits. Some job seekers might shun the company purely based on hearsay.

And, in a more sinister way, social networking can be used to disrupt industrial harmony by organising illegal strikes to cripple an entire industry and bring down the economy.

I don’t feel that a strict policy on social networking may discourage young ones from joining a particular company.

The main concern for the working young, or everyone for that matter, is the pay and benefits, and of course job satisfaction.

An employee frequently using social network at work should face disciplinary action to serve as a reminder to the perpetrator and to show others how serious the employer views such complacency.

And of course for the company to take disciplinary action it has to have rules to begin with. As long as there are no sanctions, employees will continually flout company rules and slack.

But again some might argue that it may not always be practical in real life as the world and society are addicted to social networking.

Some young employees, fresh to the working world, have no clue on responsible working etiquette and may think that employers don’t mind them engaging in social networking during work hours.

It is important that a clear policy is drawn up by the employers and brought to the attention of employees on how the company feels about it and how it affects them.

The responsibility of discipline at work does not start with the HR/IR practitioners. Our education system should have an active role in educating and shaping young ones who will be joining the work force one day.

Not only institutes of higher education like colleges and universities but schools as well should inculcate responsible work etiquette which includes being on the social network during work hours, among other things. Sadly, this is lacking.

While it is almost impossible to prevent employees from accessing social network sites, as it can be easily accessed through their smart phones, both employers and capable HR/IR practitioners have to come up with proper solutions to deal with whatever challenges advancement of technology throws at them.

JOHN MARK,Segamat.

Related post: 
You addicted to Facebook ?

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