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The Downside of Facebook

It may not be the number of friends you have but how you interact with them that makes you happy. According to a research study published on PLOS One, Facebook use can actually have a detrimental impact on a person’s feelings of well-being. That’s not good news for the over 500 million people who use Facebook. Several reasons may contribute to the negative effects of the social networking site. One may be that it interferes with other physical activities—things like walking, running, dancing or exercising—that can give us a mental and emotional boost along with the physical benefits.

Another problem with Facebook use may be the old green-eyed monster. While I’m sitting here at my computer on a cool, rainy morning, my friend just posted a picture of herself swimming with the dolphins in Mexico. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy for her. But I’ll admit there’s a little tinge of envy going on here.

If you are one who frequently checks out the online postings of your friends, it can be easy to think your life isn’t all that great. (Conversely you might purposely—not porpoisely—be posting pictures to make your friends jealous. And who needs a friend like that.)

In some cases, Facebook use may also become addictive. And considering how common the site’s use is, especially among young adults like those who participated in the study, it may be difficult to stage a Facebook intervention.

The researchers recognize that many factors contribute to a person’s well-being. However their study finds that the human need for social interaction might be undermined rather than enhanced by this type of online interactions.

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