What is keeping you from sleeping at nights right now? Money worries? Problems at work? It might surprise you to find out that a number of people are living their lives under stress generated by Facebook.
It seems that having 24 hour access to details of the activities of our friends isn’t quite as simple as it seemed at first. Researchers from the Napier University in Edinburgh carried out studies on a number of users of the social networking site and found that a certain degree of anxiety existed among a percentage of the people they questioned.
The results show that the Facebook users with most friends are more liable to feel anxious, but what exactly are they getting stressed about and how can it be avoided? Well, there are a number of common reasons which cropped up during the Napier University study of around 200 users.
The first problem for some users is around the receipt and acceptance of friend requests. 12% of the sample group revealed that they dislike receiving these requests while a massive 63% delay answering when they get one of these. Following on from this, around 30% of people felt guilty about the friend requests they have turned down in the past.
It seems that being popular can sometimes have its downside on Facebook, and a lot of users also live in fear of receiving an invite from their parents or relatives which would open up all of their social activities to close scrutiny. Apart from this, there is the simple fear of being contacted by someone whom you don’t wish to really get close to but don’t want to openly reject either.
The other side of this anxiety is that caused by the fact that the site never switches off. Some people feel anxious if they are away from the site for too long and worry that they are missing important updates or interesting news.
The study was led by Dr Kathy Charles and she revealed that the people studied showed a desire to constantly provide fun updates for their contacts, and that the more friends they have “the more pressure you feel” to write something entertaining.
The people at Facebook declined to comment on the story but it appears clear that a safe use of Facebook, like any other constant source of information and social contact, depends pretty much entirely upon the user. There is no way of policing the site to make sure that people relax and take some time away from it so we came up with a short list of do’s and don’ts.
Don’t – Spend all day on the site. It is meant to be used for occasional use and not to replace your real life.
Do – Use Facebook as a light hearted way to keep in touch with people.
Don’t –Feel pressured to be someone you aren’t. Your friends like you for being the person you are.
Don’t – Try to accumulate as many friends as possible for the sake of it. Quality is more important than quantity.
Do – Treat people as you would in real life.