Juggling more than 300 Facebook friends stresses teens out according to a new study conducted by researchers with the University of Montreal.
Social media is rapidly conquering our lives. Our children’s lives too, perhaps at even more accelerated rates than ours. Our teens grow up with technology. From smartphones to super performant computers and other gadgets, the need to be permanently connected is imperative. It can also be dangerous according to new research looking at stress level of teens aged 12 to 17 when looking at this group’s behavior related to Facebook.
Facebook is the largest social media network in the world. It offers a perfect venue for outing opinions, expressing preferences and keeping in touch with friends through a variety of tools. The reverse of the medal is that it also leaves room for fabricated identities or cyberbullying, in addition to exposure to content and reactions that may be malicious.
Connecting to friends on Facebook may boost one’s self-esteem. Yet, according to the findings of the University of Montreal study, juggling more than 300 Facebook friends stresses teens out. The research featuring in the Psychoneuroendocrinology was conducted with the help of 88 participants in the age group between 12 and 17.
The teens, both male and female responded to questions related to how they use Facebook, how often they log on the social media website, the number of friends on Facebook, as well as their interests as reflected in their Facebook posts and the ways they showed support to their friends via Facebook.
For a period of three days during the study, the researchers also collected cortisol samples from the 88 teens involved in the study. The cortisol samples were collected four times per day. The stress hormone levels were found to be elevated with those teens counting more than 300 Facebook friends.
Other stress factors were accounted for as well. Nonetheless, the research team was able to establish that Facebook alone under these conditions amounted to 8 percent of the influence on cortisol levels.
Specific details as to what makes teens with more than 300 Facebook friends so stressed weren’t in the scope of the study. However, knowing that cortisol levels are spiking with this group, it is important to acknowledge that sets the ground for depression later in life. According to research team, previous studies have demonstrated that it may take up to 10 or more years before severe depression sets in as a result of high cortisol levels.
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