Is Facebook Ruining Your Life?

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Other researchers have studied the impact of Facebook upon social interaction and personal emotions. Here are some of their shocking findings:

  • It’s sabotaging your blind date: Yep, Shannon Rauch, an assistant professor of psychology at Benedictine University, found that a Facebook introductions tended to make some people more nervous during the face-to-face meeting.
     
  • It's making you green with envy: Researchers at Humboldt University and Darmstadt's Technical University, both in Germany, found that the most common emotion aroused by Facebook is envy. The findings are attributed to endless comparisons with peers who may have doctored photographs, amplified their achievements, or plagiarized their "unique" status updates. 
     
  • More time on Facebook is associated with higher levels of disordered eating: It seems too bizarre to be true -- but it is. Psychology Professor Pamela K. Keel found that women who placed greater importance on receiving comments and 'likes' on their status updates reported the highest levels of disordered eating.
     
  • It's messing with your self-esteem: A study conducted at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden found a direct correlation between Facebook usage and negative relationships with self-esteem. 
     
  • It's causing you to overindulge: A new study shows that using Facebook reduces your self-control. Yeah, Facebook might be causing you to eat more cookies than you should! Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Columbia Business School found that just five minutes of browsing a day could put users at risk of overindulging - physically and financially. Even more shockingly, usage was linked to higher body mass index (BMI) and higher credit card debt. 

So what does this mean? Should you should click “Deactivate” on your Facebook for good? Not unless you want to. Facebook is still a great way to stay in contact with friends and family you don’t get to see quite as often as you’d like.

But, what it does mean is that it’s important to maintain a fair amount of perspective when engaging with the social media site. Facebook is an excellent way to stay in touch with far-away family and friends, but it’s no substitute for real life. So step away from your computer, put down your iPhone, and spend some time away from your Timeline. Actually enjoy a warm meal instead of posting a picture of the dish. Call up your brother instead of following his updates on Twitter. Take a hike outdoors instead jealously browsing through your friends tropical vacation photos. 

What you find (and feel!) may surprise you.

 

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Cristina Arreola, Editorial Assistant

Originally from El Paso, Texas, Cristina Mari Arreola earned her degree at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University before moving to BrooklynNew York. In her downtime, you can usually find her scouring the city for the most authentic Mexican food (still looking...), scaring herself silly watching horror movies, or baking her favorite sweets. You can follow her on Twitter at @c_arreola

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