Frequent viewing of selfies through social network sites like Facebook is linked to a decrease in self-esteem and life satisfaction, according to a new study conducted by Penn State researchers.
Previous research on social network sites often focuses on the motivation for posting and liking content, but this study starts to look at the effect of viewing behavior.
Viewing behavior is also called “lurking” – when a person does not participate in posting or liking social content, but is just an observer.
This form of participation in social media may sound like it should have little effect on how people view themselves, but the current study revealed the exact opposite.
The researchers conducted an online survey to collect data on the psychological effects of posting and viewing selfies and groupies.
The result showed that posting behavior did not have significant psychological effects for participants, but viewing behavior did.
Moreover, the more often people viewed their own and others’ selfies, the lower their level of self-esteem and life satisfaction.
In addition, participants categorized as having a strong desire to appear popular were even more sensitive to selfie and groupie viewing.
In this case, however, selfie and groupie viewing behavior increased the self-esteem and life satisfaction for these participants.
This may be because this activity satisfied the participants’ desires to appear popular.
Researchers suggest that people usually post selfies when they’re happy or having fun. This makes it easy for someone else to look at these pictures and think his or her life is not as great as others’ life.
Hopefully the finding can raise awareness about social media use and the effect it has on viewers of people’s social networks.
News source: Penn State University.
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