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Facebook Makes You Spend More and Over-Eat — Dollars and Sense

Franco Bouly, Flickr

Facebook may be giving people a false sense of self-esteem, leading to overspending and gluttonous behavior, according to new research.

Researchers say that Facebook and other social media outlets can have a detrimental effect on the consumer, which can lead to a reduction in self-control and, ultimately, poor judgment. “People who use Facebook more tend to have a higher body-mass index (BMI), increased binge eating, carry more credit card debt and have lower credit scores,” said Andrew Stephen, an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

This phenomenon is due in part to the elevated ego some people get from hanging out on social media sites, especially if they have close friends online, according to researchers. “Simply browsing Facebook makes people feel better about themselves and momentarily enhances their self-esteem,” said Wilcox. “It’s that enhanced self-esteem that ultimately lowers your self-control.”

Researchers say this loss of self-control can contribute to mindless self-indulgence like eating dessert when you shouldn’t or purchasing something you can’t really afford, which can lead to obesity and/or a poor financial situation.

Researchers add that self-control is a key element in maintaining social order and without it, they worry “this subtle effect could have widespread impact.”


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