How Facebook can give you the blues

By KATHERINE RUSHTON Time of article published Feb 5, 2015

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London - We’ve all logged on to Facebook only to feel a pang of envy at a friend’s luxurious holiday photos or big promotion.

But according to scientists this online jealousy doesn’t just make us grumpy – it could actually be damaging our mental health.

A US study found the social networking site can lead to depression, especially among users who constantly compare their friends’ lives with their own.

Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia, who analysed the behaviour of 700 students, said that the website can be ‘a very positive resource’ if it is used as a way of chatting to friends.

But if it is seen as a way to ‘size up one’s own accomplishments’ against other people’s it can soon become troubling, they found.

Professor Margaret Duffy, who co-authored the study, said: ‘If Facebook is used to see how well an acquaintance is doing financially or how happy an old friend is in his relationship – things that cause envy – use of the site can lead to feelings of depression. It is important for Facebook users to be aware of these risks.’

She said Facebook posts often present a very rose-tinted view of people’s lives, adding: ‘Positive self-presentation is an important motivation in using social media, so it is to be expected that many users would only post positive things about themselves.’

Daily Mail

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