Facebook Triggers Envy, According To New Study

Dec 18, 2015 02:00 PM EST | By Maria Leonila Masculino


Too much time spent on Facebook triggers anxiety, feeling of inadequacy and depression. As studies on the dark side of social media continue to arise, a new study reveals how looking at our friends' travel photos and other flattering posts could make us feel less about ourselves.

Yahoo Health reports a study conducted by researchers at University of British Columbia suggests that envy could be one of the factors that motivate people to post. Seeing our Facebook friends looking good or doing well usually triggers us to post our own flattering photos to compete.

"The study is trying to raise awareness that envy is one of the reactions from consuming information on Facebook," said study's lead author UBS professor Izak Benbasat. "We're trying to warn people about consequences."

People can't help but compare themselves with those they see on their newsfeeds. As competition persists, insecurities and feelings of inferiority plague the others.

According to the study entitled "Why Following Friends Can Hurt You: Empirical Investigation of the Effects of Envy on Social Networking Sites" involving 1,193 college-aged Facebook users, our friends' travel posts top the list of envy triggers.

"If you tell me in words it's not going to have the same impact as if I see it on Facebook videos and pictures," Benbasat says.

"On Facebook you can take your time to put together exactly what you want to say and put only the photos up that you want to put up," said Media psychologist and "Get Reel: Produce Your Own Life" author Dr. Nancy Mramor Kajuth.

"You are being flooded on a daily basis with all this wonderful stuff about all these wonderful people," she explained. "Envy is a deep part of our reaction because people start to compare."

Kajuth suggests it is best not to compare ourselves to other people and become our own competitor instead.

"They should compete only to be their best selves," she said, "to do the best every day, in every area of their lives."

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