Social media has the potential to bring us closer together than ever before. It allows us to share photos with each other, communicate across borders, build and maintain friendships and develop communities. Perhaps it’s no surprise that by the third quarter of 2016 Facebook had 1.6 billion monthly active users, and Twitter averaged 317 million users.

However, despite social media’s clear ability to bring us together, can it also sometimes leave us feeling down? And what are the implications for our security online?

With this question in mind, Kaspersky Lab undertook a study to delve into people’s relationship with social media. Together with research firm Toluna, a total of 16.750 people from 18 countries where 1,000 from Australia aged over 16 years old, split equally between men and women, were surveyed. Based on what was found, here are the top three unsocial facts about social media.

  1. One-in-ten bend the truth on social media to make themselves feel good. Men go even further. In the hunt for likes, men tend to go even further than women, posting things that present themselves and their friends in a compromising light. According to Dr. Astrid Carolus, Media Psychologist at the University of Würzburg, she says, “This in line with the assumption of men being rather less focused on social harmony and are more willing to take risks.” Results show 15% of men revealed they would post a photo of friends under the influence of alcohol compared to 8% of women. Nudity is also taken lightly among the men showing that 9% of men are ready to post a photo of themselves in the nude compared to only 5% of women. Take a peek at more examples of what people will do for likes below.

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  1. Jealousy of online friends leaves people feeling down. Social media started life as a way of staying in touch with friends and sharing happy memories. However, the results of this indicate that social media now leaves many people feeling negative instead. Despite the desire to feel good from their interactions on social media, when people see their friends’ happy posts about holidays, hobbies, and parties, they are often left with the bitter feeling that other people are enjoying life more than them. For example, 59% have felt unhappy when they have seen friends’ posts from a party they were not invited to while 45% revealed that their friends’ happy holiday pictures have had a negative influence on them. Furthermore, 37% also admitted that looking at past happy posts of their own can leave them with the feeling that their own past was better than their present life.
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  2. Setting a bad example: children unimpressed by parents’ online behaviour

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Relationships with family, friends and colleagues are changing as people communicate less face-to-face as a result of social media. A significant third of people admitted that they now communicate less with their parents (31%), children (33%), partners (23%), and friends (35%) because they can see and communicate with them via social media. General Manager, Peter Brady adds, “We live in a globalised and highly mobile world resulting in distances between partners and family members. As a parent myself, it is important for all of us to realize that digital communication can’t replace face-to-face communication. Certainly not always and never completely especially a bond between a child and their parents.

In order to protect themselves and their relationships, people need to be more cautious and cyber-savvy about the information they share on social media. That will not only help to mitigate the risks of the online world, but prevent relationship damage in the offline world.

Are you a likeaholic? Take a fun quiz and find out if you are here.

To read the full report click here.

About Kaspersky Lab
Kaspersky Lab is a global cybersecurity company founded in 1997. Kaspersky Lab’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is constantly transforming into security solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers around the globe. The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of specialized security solutions and services to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky Lab technologies and we help 270,000 corporate clients protect what matters most to them.
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