Edinburgh, Scotland — According to Scottish researchers, the more Facebook friends a person has, the more likely social media can become a source of stress.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Edinburgh Business School, found that the more groups of people in someone’s Facebook friends, the greater the potential to cause offense, especially if parents or employers are included.
The researchers said that stress rises when users present a version of themselves on Facebook that is unacceptable to some of their online friends.
The researchers also found that about 55 percent of parents follow their children on Facebook, while more than half of employers admitted to not hiring someone based on the applicant’s Facebook page.
The researchers surveyed more than 300 people on Facebook, mostly students, with an average age of 21. The study found that Facebook users have an average of seven different social circles.
“The most common group was friends known offline (97 percent added them as friends online), followed by extended family (81 percent), siblings (80 percent), friends of friends (69 percent), and colleagues (65 percent),” the researchers said.
The research followed previous studies that suggested Facebook is the second-most depressing activity cited by users, just under recovery from illness. Those who frequent the site can suffer from “Facebook envy.”
The Edinbugh survey also found that more users are Facebook friends with their exes than with their current partners. And only one-third of respondents said they use the privacy setting on their profile.
“Facebook used to be like a great party for all your friends where you can dance, drink and flirt,” Edinburgh researcher Ben Marder said. “But now with your Mum, Dad and boss there, the party becomes an anxious event full of potential social landmines.”