Study: Facebook increases face-to-face socializing

By Meredith Singer Comment

Do you ever worry about your preference to message a friend over Facebook then talk to them in person? Do you write on your roomate’s Facebook wall instead of wandering across the hall to talk to them? If this sounds like you don’t worry – these are all perfectly social behaviors according to a new Australian study.

Researchers at the Australian Psychological Society (APS) polled 1834 adults to see how they used social networking sites.

The survey found “online social networking increases, rather than reduces, face-to-face socializing.”

A majority of the respondents said that social media sites like Facebook gave them more regular contact with friends and family – especially if those loved ones live far away.

A quarter of respondents said social media sites makes them want more face-to-face contact.

“These findings are significant because we know strong social connections enhance people’s self-esteem and mental health while providing support and a sense of belonging,” said APS researcher Dr Mathews according to ITWire.

Here are more of the study’s key finding according to The Epoch Times:

  • Seventy-one percent of users checked their profile daily, while 51 per cent did so “several times” daily.
  • Among those who shun online social networking, the most common reasons were loss of interest, having “better things to do” and preferring to speak to people face-to-face.
  • One in five of those aged 31 to 50 admitted to forming an “intimate relationship” with someone they met online.
  • People of all ages use social media, with 81 per cent of those aged 31 to 50, and 64 per cent of those over 50, using online social networking.
  • Facebook users aged under 30 had an average 263 friends, while those aged 31 to 50 had 206 friends and those aged over 50 averaged 92 friends.

However, study findings weren’t all positive. Almost one in three of those polled – with young adults under 30 the most affected – said they had been harassed, received unwelcome contact or had someone post unwanted information about them online.

To help mitigate that, researchers at APS posted this tip sheet for positive online social networking.

Have you had a bad experience socializing on Facebook? Tell us about it in the comments below.