Is Facebook Making You Fat? Research Links Facebook Time To Increased Eating, Spending

Participating in social networking can increase over-eating and over-spending, a new study shows. While using social networks such as Facebook have been shown to be good for self-esteem, the feelings of “increased self-worth” can have a detrimental effect on behavior, researchers claim.

Social network users care about the image they present to close friends, and social networks accommodate this positive image. Using social networks has been shown to increase self-esteem in users who are focuses on close friends while they browse their social network of choice.

However, the momentary increase in self-esteem can skew a person’s view of reality, the study claims, and causes them to make unwise choices in the moments following social network use. Columbia University’s Keith Wilcox and the University of Pittsburgh’s Andrew T Stephen, who co-authored the study, say, “This momentary increase in self-esteem leads them to display less self-control after browsing a social network.”

In the area of food, users who focus on close friends while browsing their social networks are more likely to “choose an unhealthy snack after browsing Facebook due to enhanced self-esteem.” Interestingly, greater Facebook use was associated with higher body-mass index and increased binge eating, according to researchers.

In regards to finances and spending, those who spent more time browsing close friends on Facebook and other social networking sites had lower credit scores and higher levels of credit card debt.

The authors conclude:

“These results are concerning given the increased time people spend using social networks, as well as the worldwide proliferation of access to social networks anywhere anytime via smartphones and other gadgets. Given that self-control is important for maintaining social order and personal well-being, this subtle effect could have widespread impact. This is particularly true for adolescents and young adults who are the heaviest users of social networks and have grown up using social networks as a normal part of their daily lives.”

Do you think spending time on social networks causes higher self-esteem?