Facebook Likes Aren't Necessarily Uplifting

People who go out of their way to get more likes tend to have lower self-esteem
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2017 12:55 PM CDT
Facebook Likes Aren't Necessarily Uplifting
   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

Teens aren't necessarily as in love with social media as they're portrayed to be. The results of an AP poll released last week show that nearly 60% of teens in the US have taken social media breaks—most of the time voluntary ones that last at least a week. Now researchers at the University of South Wales have presented findings to the British Psychological Society that suggest even what are perceived to be straightforward perks of social media—such as getting attention via likes—may not exactly elevate the end user's mood. "Although this is just a relatively small-scale study, the results indicate that the ways we interact with social media can affect how we feel, and not always positively," one researcher says.

To test this, the team reports in a Science Daily news release that it recruited 340 participants on Twitter and Facebook to complete personality questionnaires and then agree or disagree with 25 statements. Key findings include that people who go out of their way to rack up more likes tend to have low self-esteem and be less trusting of others, and that those likes don't actually lift their mood or how they see themselves. Previous research has looked not at more likes, but at more time, reports Medical Daily. It cites a study published in 2016 that surveyed 19- to 32-year-olds and found "individuals in the highest quartile of [social media] site visits per week ... had significantly increased odds of depression." (Young people average at least an hour a day on social media.)

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