When was the last time you checked your Facebook account? Yesterday? A few hours ago? A few minutes ago?
Whether they admit it or not, most people have a slight addiction to social media. Even if you don't post a status update regularly, chances are that when you do, you care about what the outcome is. Share a photo on your Facebook wall, and you'll probably be checking back to see how many likes and comments it gets.
Without us realizing it, social media has impacted our behavior. And some of what we're discovering about the underlying consequences isn't all that great. We've told you about how social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, can track your every move. (Click here to see which companies are tracking you, and listen to our podcast below.)
We've also told you about how social media can have a negative impact on your mood, even leaving you feeling depressed and stressed.
The latter may be one of the reasons why security researchers just found another detrimental side effect of social media. In a recent study, researchers found that the use of social media caused nearly one-third of people to have less interest in real relationships. Communication was found to suffer among 31 percent of parents, 23 percent of spouses and 35 percent of friends. The reason? Why talk when you can just follow someone on social media?
Resorting to online communication has left other gaps in the way we interact with people in real life as well. According to Dr. Astrid Carolus, a Media Psychologist at the University of Wurzburg explained the following: "Under certain circumstances, they perceive their online communication as 'hyper-personal communication' and thus they can misread and over-interpret the messages on social media."
In other words, it's much easier to become offended or to over-analyze what someone means by something they've posted.
This, in turn, led 60 percent of those who participated in the study to admit that they viewed others' lives as being better than their own. Additionally, 42 percent fessed up to experiencing jealousy and anger over things that others posted, or when they noticed one of their friends receiving more "likes" than they did.
As with anything, our motto is "all within moderation." It may seem far-fetched, but researchers are discovering it is possible to spend too much time using social media. Are you nearing that fine line between normal use and addiction? Take our quiz to see if you're addicted to Facebook.