London - Having lots of Facebook friends can cause stress as users try not to offend their online contacts.

Researchers found that the likelihood of anxiety increases as the tally of social circles – on average seven – rises.

More “friends” means a greater potential to cause offence, said a team from the University of Edinburgh’s Business School.

Stress levels rise when a person presents themselves in a way unacceptable to some online “friends”, especially bosses or parents. This could include posts showing swearing, recklessness, drinking and smoking.

More than half of parents – 55 percent – follow their children on the social network.

Meanwhile, more than half of bosses said they decided not to hire a worker based on their Facebook page.

Report author Ben Marder said: “Facebook used to be like a great party for all your friends where you can dance, drink and flirt.

“But now with your mum, dad and boss there, the party becomes an anxious event full of potential social landmines.”

The study also found that more people are Facebook friends with former partners than current ones. Only 56 percent of users were friends with their boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse online, compared with 64 percent of exes. - Daily Mail