Social media use can make you ‘envious’ of loved ones, study finds

happy youth sunset social media

Social media isn’t always as constructive or beneficial as we might believe. While keeping in touch with loved ones and meeting new people is now made much easier, entire Mondays are often wasted browsing Facebook and Twitter (uh… don’t look at me).

But social media can also have a negative effect on mood and one’s emotional stability, according to a new study published by security and research firm Kaspersky Labs.

The company, surveying over 16 000 people worldwide, discovered that sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can often leave people feeling upset or “bitter” rather than happy and content.

While around 60% of surveyed users log in to see “entertaining and funny posts”, around 42% suggest that they feel “jealous when their friends get more likes than them”. More interestingly, Kaspersky also claims that “people feel envious when they see the seemingly happier lives of their friends on social media”.

More than two in five users suggest that they feel “jealous” of friends on social media

This claim is also supported by these green-tinted numbers:

  • 59% of surveyed users “have felt unhappy when they have seen friends’ posts from a party they were not invited to”
  • 45% of surveyed users suggested that their “friends’ happy holiday pictures have had a negative influence on them”
  • 37% of surveyed users explained that looking at past photographs “can leave them with the feeling that their own past was better than their present life”

Ultimately, while people use social networks to keep in touch with friends and family, seeing those people happy often have negative effects on them.

This isn’t the first time these effects have been observed in social media users though.

Just a quick web search reveals the number of academic articles leading with the terms “social media” and “jealousy”. Digging a little deeper, some papers seems to find a disparity between the degree of jealousy roused by some social websites and services, namely Snapchat and Facebook.

While Kaspersky doesn’t make any recommendations on how to quell negative feelings on social media, the company has announced that it is developing an app which will allow users to save content from the likes of Facebook, just in case they might want to leave social media entirely.

The question is though… would you really want to?

Andy Walker, former editor


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