Are you a Likeaholic?

Why Social Media Can’t Restore Your Self Esteem or Replace Real Relationships by Kaspersky Lab. The world of social media both replicates the real world but also creates...

Why Social Media Can’t Restore Your Self Esteem or Replace Real Relationships by Kaspersky Lab.

The world of social media both replicates the real world but also creates a whole new range of platforms when life is played out online.

There is no doubting the huge benefits of social media; wide reaching positive advances in staying connected, sharing information fast and broadening the amount of people we can network with. But what about the downsides?

Known as ‘likeaholism’, the desire to broadcast to our networks in an attempt to receive validation from our peers, this recently coined phrase is beginning to define how many people view social media.

In recent research conducted by cybersecurity specialists, Kaspersky Labs, it was found that one in every ten of us are likely to post something compromising just to get ‘Likes’.

What will you do for more ‘Likes’? Men Women
Post a photo of a friend who is drunk 15% 8%
Pretend to be doing something or somewhere more interesting 14% 9%
Reveal something embarrassing about a co-worker 14% 8%
Post a photo of yourself under the influence of alcohol 13% 7%
Post a revealing photo of a friend 13% 6%
Reveal something confidential about your employer 13% 8%

Interestingly we are more likely to do these things online than we are in real life; in a way, our ethical standards are lowered online simply to garner popularity. And these drop-in standards are hurting our relationships in direct contrast to the benefits that using social media is supposed to enhance. 21% of people quizzed for this research admitted that relationships with their children had been damaged as a result of them seeing their parents in compromising situations via social media posts. As many as 16% of people said that their relationship with their partner had also been negatively affected by a compromising post.

In addition, the way in which we conduct our relationships is changing as a result of social networking with many of us physically interacting less with our friends and family as a result of ‘seeing’ them regularly online. Commenting on a post of sending a private message is slowly replacing the opportunity to catch up with our contacts in person. The same research showed that as many as 23% of people polled admit to communicating less with their partners in real life because they do so online. With our parents, it is as many as 31%, friends 35% and our children 33%.

So, are social networking channels a bad thing? Is this research highlighting what we already know to be a truism about relationships? In the absence of a compromising post on Facebook, would children find other ways to disapprove of their parent’s behaviour? The fact that families are communicating at all is surely a good thing, irrespective of whether this is online or in person, surely?

Well, over 50% of respondents in this survey thought so, strongly agreeing with the statement that social networks do not damage the quality of their relationships and making them feel closer to their friends and family.

Media Psychologists tend to agree but are quick to interject that online communication cannot wholly constitute an effective and functional relationship. The absence of face-to-face interactions does not satisfy our need for intimacy nor invoke the feel-good hormones that are produced when we interact in person. Sure, social networking is quick, efficient and easy but it can also lead to misinterpretation, feelings of rejection if your posts aren’t ‘liked’ by certain people and can harm relationships because of people being quick to publish compromising posts in an effort to get ‘likes’.

Whilst the social etiquettes of online communication are still being fleshed out, psychologists recommend that you evaluate your important relationships and ensure that you find time to invest some regular face-to-face time. After all, we are social beings as well as individuals and what you get out of relationships is directly correlative to what you put into them.

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