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How Facebook Can Affect Your Sense of Happiness

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Uploaded on Feb 29, 2012

From http://voaspecialenglish.com | http://facebook.com/voalearningenglish

An American study suggests that social media can affect your thinking about other people. We asked young people how many friends they have on Facebook.

COLLEGE STUDENTS: "I've never actually, like, stopped and looked at it. Probably somewhere between, like, 350 and 400 -- I don't know." "I would definitely be on Facebook all the time, like, 'Wow, she's here, he's there.'" "Yeah, I'm a heavy user. I rely a lot on it. I find myself checking it multiple times a day."

Researchers at Utah Valley University wanted to explore if the amount of time spent on Facebook affected how users saw others. They asked college students if other people have better and happier lives. And, how long they had used the website and how many hours a week they spend following Facebook friends. The study found students who were more involved with Facebook were more likely to think other people's lives were happier.

Psychologist Tod Kashdan read the Utah findings.

TOD KASHDAN: "They're hearing all these great things happening from other people and feeling that they're making a downward comparison to themselves. Such that they're viewing themselves as 'My life isn't as interesting or satisfying as other people's lives look like'."

It is easy to think that one's Facebook friends are always happy because they usually tell only about good things in their lives. Some students say they understand that someone's Facebook profile may not show the whole truth about the person.




NICOLLE MAY: "I give people the impression that my life is perfect and there's nothing wrong with it when there is so much, so it's really false, it's like someone else completely with my face."

MARAM MOHAMED: "I'm aware that whatever people post on Facebook isn't necessarily, like, what their entire life is made of. I feel like people put on, like, a fake picture of themselves and try to make themselves look a lot better than they actually are in real life when they're online."

Tod Kashdan says it is important to live your own life.

TOD KASHDAN: "Don't spend a lot of time just looking at other people's positive events. Share your own and see who are your true friends, who really cares for the things that happen to you."

Psychologists say Facebook users should spend time with their real friends, and not on the "Facebook friends" they may hardly even know. I'm June Simms.

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