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Is Facebook making you fat?
We all know that social media can be detrimental to body image and self-esteem.
Case in point: Websites and blogs that promote anorexia and self-harm. The Internet is rampant with negative messages that are dangerous for vulnerable young minds.
Does social media make you overweight and broke?
But even a little innocent Facebook browsing can do more harm than good, a new study says. The momentary boost in self-esteem a user can get from positive feedback on social media sites can actually lead to a lack of self-control and behaviors like binge eating.
Researchers Keith Wilcox of Columbia University and Andrew Stephen of the University of Pittsburgh explain:
"Because consumers care about the image they present to close friends, social network use enhances self-esteem in users who are focused on close friends while browsing their social network. This momentary increase in self-esteem leads them to display less self-control after browsing a social network."
Based on the feedback from 541 Facebook users in the US, the study found that social media users were more likely to have higher BMIs and engage in binge eating episodes. If that's not bad enough, Facebook users in particular were found to have more financial problems and lower credit ratings.
Just an issue for youth?
Could these statistics simply reflect the fact that the majority of social media users are young people--and therefore more susceptible to financial concerns or reckless behavior?
Possibly. But Wilcox and Stephen say it's still a cause for concern.
"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."