Who’s More Private on Facebook, Kids or Adults? Neither.

Facebook privacy settings are virtually the same for adolescence and adults. As there are more than 750 million active users on the social media website, chances are you or someone you know has a profile page that can contain information on where you work, who your friends and family are, and even have status updates on your day-to-day activities.  While you can change the amount of information you allow people to see on your profile, a recent study reveals something surprising: adolescents and adults have virtually the same privacy settings.  But the researchers also found that adults tended to spend less time on Facebook and had higher self-esteem than their teenage counterparts.

The link between Facebook and low self-esteem was well-established in an earlier study that shows individuals who are more self-centered and who have lower self-esteem check their Facebook pages more often than others with higher self-esteem and a lower narcissistic tendency. They also tend to stay on their pages longer, as well as display more self-promotional content. The men in this study generally focused on what they said in the “About Me” section, filling it with egocentric information. On the other hand, women tended to make sure that their profile picture was one in which they looked spectacular.

Just because adults have higher self-esteem doesn’t mean negative effects of Facebook aren’t felt; for many adults Facebook can have a negative effect on your relationship.  A whopping 74 percent of people surveyed said they were likely to add exes as Facebook friends and 78.9 percent said that their current partner had previous significant others as Facebook friends. No surprise that keeping the past virtually around may make your current lover jealous. These strong feelings of jealousy may be related to the feedback loop that Facebook provides; one that didn’t previously exist. Because the information people are receiving about their partner is ambiguous, this may cause an increase in checking, rechecking and triple checking your partner’s wall, thus increasing Facebook use and jealousy in a cyclical fashion.  So for adults, while Facebook won’t ruin your self-esteem, it could very well ruin your relationships.

Facebook isn’t going away anytime soon, so limiting your time online might be beneficial.  Go outside and explore the world around you, rather than viewing it through a computer monitor.

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