Facebook cost me my job, ruined my marriage and caused 1,500 people to gatecrash my party. No, not me personally, no-one is that unlucky, but these are just some of the headlines the social networking site has created in the past few months.

 

There's no doubt that the website is a brilliant way of communicating with people, but it is the ultimate procrastinating activity, as any student will tell you.

 

When Mark Zuckerberg sat in his Harvard dorm five years ago and launched Facebook he could not possibly have known that it would become the global phenomenon it has.

 

Nor could he have known that millions of students across the world would spend the first ten minutes of every lesson checking who has updated their pointless, yet perversely interesting(?) status... until the lecturer finally asks you to get on with what you’re supposed to be doing.

 

It now has more than 200 million active members, who spend/waste a phenomenal 3.5 billion minutes each day on the social networking site.  

 

The average user has 120 friends and yet experts are warning that the site is making us all socially inept. Leading neuroscientist, Lady Greenfield has warned that Facebook is ‘infantilising our minds’.

 

Social networking sites have been accused of everything from causing cancer (the Daily Mail of course), shortening our attention span and increasing recklessness.

 

Research suggests that the number of hours people spend speaking to one another face to face has fallen dramatically since 1987, as electronic media use has risen.

 

So, should we be worried that were all becoming mindless morons with short attention spans and no social skills? Well, before you panic and warn all your pseudo Facebook friends by changing your status or setting up a group, consider this:

 

When the clock was invented, it was accused of stopping people interacting with natural light; the printing press of making people inherently lazy; the telephone of making people anti-social; and the television was said to turn people into mindless zombies.

 

Maybe this is just a debate that happens every time a new technology is invented, who knows? In five years' time we may well be discussing how the hover board made us all fat and lazy.

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By Nick Egan, Blog & Alumni Editor

Related links

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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on US TV; CNN reports on how Facebook cost one girl her job

 destroying our brains?

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