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Have we created unsocial media?

Social media leaves people feeling down, research reveals

Posted by Sophie Beyer | January 13, 2017 | E-safety

Using social media can have unintended consequences, says research revealed this week.  Social media started life as a way of staying in touch with friends and sharing happy memories. However, the results of the latest study from Kaspersky Lab which surveyed 16,750 people over 18 countries, indicated that social media now leaves many people feeling frustrated.

Latest user figures from FaceBook show there 1.6 billion monthly active users and Twitter averaged 317 million.  People often experience negative emotions after spending time on social media due to a variety of reasons, and these overpower the positive effects of social media.

In their search for social approval, people have stopped seeing the boundary between what it is okay to share, and what is better kept private. 

The hunt for likes plays a central role in this, with many people feeling down or upset when they don’t get as many likes as they expected for a post, and with 42 per cent saying they feel jealous when their friends get more likes than them. Other findings show one-in-ten people would bend the truth on social media to get more people to like their posts.  The studies reveal a gender difference, with men more likely than women to post their privacy away.

David Mole, Head of Retail Sales at Kaspersky Lab warns that this risky behaviour on social media can put people at risk. “Our relationship with social media has developed into a vicious cycle. We want to go onto our favourite social platforms to tell all our connections about the positive things we are doing. But the reality is when we log onto social media we’re bombarded with images of our friends having fun, and it looks like they’re enjoying life more than us.”

Chasing likes can ‘leave people feeling disheartened about their own lives’ concludes the study, and to generate more likes and feel better about the time they spend on social media, people are being tempted into sharing more information; potentially putting themselves and the people they care about at risk.

David Mole continues, “In their search for social approval, people have stopped seeing the boundary between what it is okay to share, and what is better kept private. But it is important to protect ourselves, as well as the privacy of others. To do this, people need to become more aware about the information they share on social media and install security software on their devices to protect themselves and their loved ones from cyberthreats.”

What can people do to protect themselves?  Kapersky Lab conclude people need to be more cautious and cyber-savvy about the information they share on social media. That will not only help to mitigate the risks of the online world, it will also help to prevent relationship damage in the physical world because of online activities.

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