by Ngan Ha and Vu An
In a world where people connect with just a simple click, Facebook is like a wonderland where anyone can be Alice. However, this magical world has a dark side. It can bring people together - but it can also pull them apart.
Nguyeõn Thu Mai, 35, a public employee, knows firsthand how Facebook can create distance between individuals. Once she only used the Internet for sending e-mails and chatting on Yahoo! with her friends. But when one of her colleagues made her a Facebook account, she quickly became hooked on the social network.
"I must admit that Facebook is indeed magical. Using it, I can reach my old friends any time, even those who live far away on the other side of the Earth," Mai tells her husband, Nguyen Thanh Tung.
She didn't stop at updating her photos, posts and statuses, but also joined various groups: groups of mothers, groups of those who like shopping and dozens of other groups related to her interest. After work, she continues to use Facebook at home - for the whole night.
Once, when she and her husband had just arrived home after a vacation in Da Lat City, Mai ran to the computer as fast as she could to upload her album onto Facebook - while everything in their house was still messy.
"Our family's album must be on Facebook so that everybody will learn how happy we are. We got many compliments, so I have to reply to them immediately. If I don't, I will be considered rude!" she tells Tung while she was online at 1am.
"I cannot understand her anymore. Now everything private about us is on that crappy social network! If something comes up, she seeks her friends' advice but not mine," says Tung.
Trinh Thi Loan, 42, a friend of my mother, is another "Facebookaholic." Her daily routine goes like this: wake up and check Facebook. Get home from work, check Facebook. In between house chores, check Facebook. After dinner, check Facebook. Whenever there is a free period, check Facebook. Before going to bed, sign in to Facebook again. The routine continues the next day and the day after.
"Once I got home and smelt something burning in the kitchen while my wife was busy harvesting her crops on Farmville (an application on Facebook). Until I poked her shoulder, she did not realise she had forgotten the fish she was frying. And it hasn't only happened once," he recalls. "There are times I've gotten home to find the rice cooker empty and our son dirty as he had not been bathed yet. I have to scream at her over and over to keep her off the computer. Another time, she started feeding chickens and ducks on Farmville when we were in the middle of the supermarket.
It's all my fault for letting her get this way. My business trips often keep me far from home, so I told her to make friends and play games online. Unexpectedly, she got addicted to it. There must be other men whose wives are Facebook-addicted and suffer like me," he moans.
Tran Phuong Hoa, 33, a housewife, defends her endless love for the social network.
"Although I know that if I spend a lot of time on Facebook, I will neglect my husband and children, I still cannot help loving it," she says. "Thanks to the social network, I can share all my secrets and experiences with my close friends - things I can't even tell my husband - and do things that I could not do in real life. Besides, I can make friends with other people, even people who come from far away."
Every story has two sides. Is the addiction of these women to social networks any worse than the attachment of men to smoking cigarettes? Both must struggle to get rehab!
"In modern times, people should know how to surf the Internet to broaden their knowledge. However, if they let themselves get into it too much, it may have a bad influence on their marital lives and other social relations. Some even get divorced because of the social network. Therefore, it is important for people to balance their cyber lives and real lives," says psychologist Vo Thi Minh Hue from HCM City's Youth Psychology Centre.
Dear wives, social networks like Facebook and Twitter play significant roles in modern society and help bring people closer. But when all is said and done, they are just virtual places. Learning that will keep you living a happy life with your husband and children! — VNS