Facebook Use May Mean Low Self-Esteem - DatelineCarolina

Facebook Use May Mean Low Self-Esteem

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Paige Glovinsky says she uses Facebook a lot, but she doesn't let it effect her self-esteem. Paige Glovinsky says she uses Facebook a lot, but she doesn't let it effect her self-esteem.

By: Angela Padgett

Can social networking make you sad? A new study out of Sweden says avid Facebook users may actually have lower self-esteem.

The University of Gothenburg conducted Sweden's Largest Facebook study, and found other users are more attached to their time on the site than Glovinsky.

The study shows 84% of users spent on average more than 75 minutes on Facebook per day. Those users who spent a lot of their time on Facebook said it made them feel less happy and content with their lives, especially women.

The study shows the three main uses of the social network were to maintain contact with others, maintain peer networks, and read status updates.

USC graduate student and regular Facebook user Paige Glovinsky says she herself uses the site often, especially to post pictures, but hopes it does not make her seem less secure.

"I have 203 albums and that sounds like a lot, and don't think I'm a freak or anything like that. But it's mostly stuff that I categorize," Glovinsky says.

"It's not like the full 200 pictures per album."

She says even though she mainly uses the website as a back-up system for her many photos, but she does like the response from others about them.

"I don't think that I'm so contingent on them but I just think, yeah, sure, it's a pick-me-up for the day. Like, oh a friend of mine that I haven't talked to in a while commented on a photo, and I really enjoyed seeing that and having that interaction with that person," Glovinsky says.

If Facebook is mostly used to keep up with friends, how does it make users feel worse than they did before logging in?

Clinical psychologist Dr. Rhea Merck says the social comparison brought on by Facebook use is the problem.

"The more time and energy you spend comparing yourself to others then the less time you're able to really evaluate your own personal self, based on yourself, and your own personal path," Merck says.

The Gothenburg researchers admit the relationship between self-esteem and high Facebook use was less significant when facts like age and income were considered, but Dr. Merck says she has seen the damaging affects first hand.

"I would dare say there's not a day that goes by that I don't hear some individual talking about some thing about Facebook that's had some sort of negative impact," Merck says.

"Whether it's how much their partner is using it, how they got on there and they put two and two together and found out something that they probably had no idea was going on."

Dr. Merck suggests users who find themselves caught up in social comparison on Facebook begin monitoring how much time they spend on the site and how it makes them feel.

She says if it's not positive they should question if the activity is really worth it.

Glovinsky agrees users should be careful about how much they let Facebook affect their thoughts.

"Don't take it so seriously," Glovinsky says.

She says life looks better when you don't rely on a computer screen.

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