Wisconsin News

Facebook friends could be stressing you out

LA CROSSE, Wis. - Facebook is supposed to be a fun way to connect with friends online, but a new study shows the more people you connect with, the more likely it is that the social media site will become a source of anxiety.

Trying to please all those different social circles might be stressing you out.

"It has become a little bit stressful. You have this wide array of people connected to you ... and they all interact slightly differently. And having all those multiple roles in your life just adds a lot of stress, I'd say," said University of Wisconsin-La Crosse senior Kevin Wieters.

The University of Edinburgh study shows Facebook users get stressed when they present a version of themselves on the social media site that certain groups of their Facebook friends find unacceptable.


So those expletive-ridden posts might be OK with your buddies, but your mom might not be so understanding.

The study shows adding parents or employers as friends on Facebook made people the most anxious.

"We want to always have our best foot forward in our jobs," said Viterbo University Psychology professor Bill Bakalars. "Yet when we get home, we become more real. And so I think, when that gets exposed to employers, that's kind of stressful sometimes."

Wieters said it's not just about what a user posts. Facebook friends might post pictures of another user that could be easily misinterpreted if they are seen by the wrong social circle.

"Unless you're actively deleting them or protecting your security settings, you have no control. And I wouldn't want to be represented to an employer like that," said Wieters.

Facebook has privacy settings that allow users to filter what information certain friends can see, but this study showed only one-third of people actually use those settings.

About 55 percent of parents are friends with their children on Facebook.

More than half of employers say they've decided not to hire someone based on their Facebook page.

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