Facebook prompts binge eating, spending



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Published — Monday 17 December 2012

Last update 17 December 2012 11:34 am

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WASHINGTON: Facebook may lower one’s self-control and tempt him or her into excessive eating or spending, says a new consumer study. “Using online social networks can have a positive effect on self-esteem and well-being. However, these increased feelings of self-worth can have a detrimental effect on behavior,” says the joint study by Keith Wilcox of Columbia University and Andrew T. Stephen of Pittsburgh University.
Facebook, the largest social networking website, has over one billion active users. A number of studies have found that Facebook usage lowers self-control for consumers who focus on close friends while browsing their social network, the Journal of Consumer Research reports.
Specifically, such consumers are more likely to choose an unhealthy snack after browsing Facebook due to enhanced self-esteem, according to a Columbia and Pittsburgh statement.
Greater Facebook use was linked with a higher body-mass index, increased binge eating, a lower credit score, and higher levels of credit card debt for consumers with many close friends in their social network.
“These results are concerning given the increased time people spend using social networks, as well as the worldwide proliferation of access to social networks anywhere anytime via smartphones and other gadgets,” says the study by Wilcox and Stephen.

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