Social media has attained such a pivotal role in today’s lifestyle that social interactions and relationships are directed by it. The amount of private information shared on these platforms lead to feelings of eventual jealousy and mistrust. The present study investigated the levels of influence of Facebook in creating and accentuating such emotions, specifically in romantic relationships. This effect is attributed largely to the ease of availability of personal information that would not otherwise be accessible.
Earlier, personal details were known only through face-to-face interactions and hence were restricted to only what the concerned individual wanted to divulge. But with the advent of open social online forums like Facebook, every update on several aspects of a person’s life could be viewed by all. This directly or indirectly bears a negative impact on relationships. On many occasions, the information is subjective or may not even reflect the real situation. However, it is very likely that a romantic partner misconstrues the same and ends up feeling jealous of a new contact or position. Such doubts increase the time spent on Facebook, which is in turn directly proportional to instances of suspicion and jealousy among partners.
* This study was a subset of a larger general study on Facebook usage among 308 youngsters in the age group, 17 to 24 years.
* The survey was designed to estimate factors of jealousy, trust and self-esteem experienced when partners connected with unknown new contacts and conversations or discussions viewed while monitoring their partner’s profile.
* Also, the total time and usage of Facebook was quantified to correlate for proportionality.
* The daily average time spent on Facebook-related activities was recorded as 38.93 minutes per day and the number of friends ranged from 25 to 1,000, including ex-girlfriends or boyfriends.
* Among the volunteers, 74 percent were likely to add ex-partners as Facebook friends and 78.9 percent said that their current partner had previous partners as Facebook friends.
* Interestingly, the study reported a longer duration of Facebook time for women, as well as higher jealousy measures.
* In a comparative analysis of the contribution of gender, fundamental tendency to be jealous, personality traits, dynamics of the relationship, and impact of Facebook, the last was the most prominent input.
The type of data used in this study was only representative and did not accurately reflect the possible association between personal information shared on Facebook, time spent on it, and jealousy. This link requires further understanding. It is also worth looking into whether these effects percolate into the adult population beyond university education, especially if their relations were established before Facebook came into existence.
While Facebook has many advantages, there are inevitable downsides. Psychological implications and time spent on Facebook seem to be a cyclical function of each other. It is difficult to pinpoint whether more time spent online gives scope to jealousy or if jealousy triggers a person to spend more time probing for details online. Also, interpretations of details presented could vary from person to person. This eventually ends up in an imaginary condition of insecurity in a relationship. The major players on the jealousy scenario are easy access to personal information (partner’s contact with other people), jealousy in a relationship (others’ interest in partner), no optimum control on time spent on Facebook, and misinterpretations of context, leading first to uncertainty, then suspicion, and finally jealousy in a relationship.
For More Information:
More Information Than You Ever Wanted: Does Facebook Bring out the Green-Eyed Monster of Jealousy?
Publication Journal: CyberPsychology & Behavior, 2009
By Amy Muise; Emily Christofides; University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
*FYI Living Lab Reports Are Summaries of the Original Research.