A small study in Belgium of 83 people in their late teen/early 20s (53 of which were female) has shown that using Facebook makes young people feel worse about themselves and their lives.  The more the person used Facebook the worse they felt and the lower they scored on a life satisfaction survey.  Direct social contact (face to face or phone) had no negative effect on life satisfaction.  Individuals with a busy social life felt worse when using Facebook than those with very little direct contact.  The researchers say this demonstrates that people are not using Facebook when they feel worse, but that the use of Facebook makes them feel worse.  Reasons for this are suggested as being that Facebook use triggers social comparisons with friends/peers (ideas around others having more fun, doing more etc than you are) even when you have a “normal” social life.  The researchers claim that using Facebook “impoverishes wellbeing”.  Perhaps one way to maintain wellbeing is to time-limit your Facebook use, suggests Counsellor Kim.

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