Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter feed anxiety and make people feel inadequate, a study has found.
According to The Telegraph, a poll of those using the technology found more than half of those surveyed said the sites had changed their behavior – and half of those said their lives had been altered for the worse.
Most commonly, those who suffered a negative impact from social media said their confidence fell after comparing their own achievements to those of friends online.
Two-thirds said they found it hard to relax completely or to sleep after spending time on the sites. And one quarter of those polled said they had been left facing difficulties in their relationships or workplace after becoming confrontational online.
In total, 298 people were polled by Salford Business School at the University of Salford, for the charity Anxiety UK.
Of those, 53 per cent said the launch of social networking sites had changed their behavior – and of those, 51 per cent said the impact had been negative.
The research also demonstrated the addictive powers of internet, with 55 per cent of people saying they felt “worried or uncomfortable” when they could not access their Facebook or email accounts.
More than 60 per cent of people said they felt compelled to turn off electronic gadgets in order to have a break, with one in three of those surveyed saying they switched the devices off several times each day.
Last year, a global study found that turning off mobile phones, avoiding the internet and tuning out of the television and radio can leave people suffering from symptoms similar to those seen in drug addicts trying to go “cold turkey”.
Scientists asked volunteers from 12 universities around the world to stay away from computers, mobile phones, iPods, television and radio for 24 hours.
They found that the participants began to develop symptoms typically seen in smokers attempting to give up. The majority of those who enrolled in the study failed to last the full 24 hours without demanding their gadgets back.