Social networks may inflate self-esteem, reduce self-control
Users of Facebook and other social networks should beware of allowing their self-esteem — boosted by “likes” or positive comments from close friends — to influence their behavior: It could reduce their self-control both on and offline,
“The results suggest that greater social network use is associated with:
- a higher body-mass index
- increased binge eating
- a lower credit score
- higher levels of credit-card debt
for individuals with strong ties to their social network.”…. users who are focused on close friends:
- tend to experience an increase in self-esteem while browsing their social networks
- afterwards, these users display less self-control.
- Greater social network use among this category of users with strong ties to their friends is also associated with individuals having higher body-mass indexes and higher levels of credit-card debt, according to the paper.
“To our knowledge, this is the first research to show that using online social networks can affect self-control…We have demonstrated that using today’s most popular social network, Facebook, may have a detrimental affect on people’s self-control.”
… Regardless of whether the participants wrote about Facebook browsing or actually browsed the site:
- the participants with weak ties to Facebook friends did not experience an increase in self-esteem
- those with strong ties to friends had an enhanced sense of self-esteem.
….. browsing Facebook only increased participants’ self-esteem when they were focused on the information they were presenting to others.
“We find that people experience greater self-esteem when they focus on the image they are presenting to strong ties in their social networks. This suggests that even though people are sharing the same positive information with strong ties and weak ties on social networks, they feel better about themselves when the information is received by strong ties than by weak ties.”
“The results suggest that greater social network use is associated with a higher body-mass index, increased binge eating, a lower credit score, and higher levels of credit-card debt for individuals with strong ties to their social network.”