What Are Some Negative Effects of Social Networking?

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Social networking can skew people's perceptions of their lives by inviting comparison to others' lives. According to Peggy Drexler, a research scientist, heavy social media usage can also contribute to problems with self-esteem and feelings of isolation.

A 2012 study reports that some people view themselves in terms of how well others engage with them over social media. This might occur with a photo posted on Facebook, and feelings of dejection or resentment may occur if the post does not receive a certain number of comments or likes. Others question their relationships when friend requests go unapproved or when other users don't follow them. The study goes on to show that the longer people spend on social media sites, the more likely they are to judge others' happiness and quality of life as greater than their own.

Social networking also creates opportunities to share too much. A user who posts personal information and does not apply privacy settings has a greater risk of falling victim to identity theft. Others question the ability to shelter children and teens from bullying and harassing others using social media. An incriminating image or statement can go viral, where it will be viewed by hundreds or even thousands of social media users.