In provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling

In conclusion, there are many different reasons as to why
psychologists are interested in social networking sites. They are interested in
how they allow people to change personality and identity and perceive to their
follows something that they are not. ‘We can simply do things and experience
things on social media that we cannot do anywhere else’ (McMahon C, 2015). Social
networking can promote positive traits which may have an impact on development,
especially for younger individuals. Psychological studies have looked at the
positive impacts of social networking as it helps to build and maintain relationships
and enhances them both physically and online. Social networking positively affects
us in many other ways, for example it has positive effects on our mental and physical
health. Psychologists are also interested in how social networking sites affect
all of these factors negatively as some studies claim it can lead to loneliness
and depressions as well as effecting communication and relationships.

Psychologists are also interested in detriments of social
networking and how it negatively effects mental and physical health. People on social
networking sites tend to look at others and compare themselves which may cause
them to feel inadequate. Studies found that social networking effects parts of
the brain that are related to addiction and therefore it may increase chances
of people becoming addicted. Spending more time on social media means that
there is less face to face contact and so individuals may find social
interaction difficult or experience anxiety. Anxiety can also be caused due to
looking at other people’s pages and feeling less successful, smart, pretty etc.
Social networking may also lead to depression. ‘On the surface, Facebook
provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social
connection. But rather than enhance well-being, we found that Facebook use
predicts the opposite result—it undermines it’ (Kross E, 2013). Psychologists
are interested in how social networking negatively affects physical health. It
negatively affects peoples sleeping pattern as they tend to stay up late
browsing and messaging new friends. Social networking also promotes inactivity
which can then in turn lead to obesity or other eating disorders.

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There are many benefits of social networking in relation to
mental and physical health which is of interest to psychologists. Mentally it
makes us feel happy and have some sense of belonging. Psychologists have
discovered that actively engaging in social networking causes a psychological
response that increases our level of happiness. It also allows this happiness
to be spread to others through social media, for example liking a picture or
posting on walls. ‘When we see expressions of either positive or negative
emotions on Facebook, we are more likely to express emotions of that valence in
our updates too’ (Kramer at al. 2014). It helps to build trust with someone. ‘The
process of meeting an online contact is often marked by a series of stages in
which trust and comfort are built’ (McKenna et al., 2002). Social networking
also makes it easier to build trust as most people’s pages provide detailed
information so other people are less likely to have doubts about their
intentions. It helps to decrease loneliness as there is always other people
online and there is constant interaction. Social networking has also helped to
improve individual’s physical health due to adverts and articles that encourage
people to improve their health habits. Some even advertise apps which can give extra
support for exercise and diet.

Another topic of interest for psychologists is interpersonal
interaction/relationships which can be affected both positively and negatively
by social networking sites. Previous research has showed that social networking
and the ability to have contact and connection 24/7 allows individuals to feel
closer. This is true for couples who can even use the sites to resolve problems
and arguments they couldn’t fix face to face. Studies have also showed that
having interaction through social networking means individuals are less likely
to become isolated and feel lonely. Social networking helps interpersonal
interaction as it makes it easy to find old friends and keep in touch which
reconnects people. It can also affect interpersonal interaction and
relationships negatively as it allows people to become easily distracted.
Friends/couples tend to spend more time on social media than with each other
which leads to arguments. It can also cause people to become jealous as it
allows individuals to reconnect with exes/old friends and partners are able to
see shared photos or likes on other photos etc. Spending too much time on
social networking sites may lead to people becoming less empathetic as they are
not having face to face interaction they may not be able to react the same to
real life situations.

Psychologists are also interested in the behavioural effects
of social networking. Biological research has found that how much you use
social media may be related to a psychopsychological pattern (Mauri et al.
2011). Social media use causes many behaviours that would not be the same in
real life. For example, when we first start out on social media most people
follow/add people they know and are friends with and once they have got all of
them they start to follow/add people they know of but aren’t friends with. It may
also cause people to behave differently in terms of their privacy. Some may usually
be really private individuals, but on social media they are public and provide
their personal information for anyone to see. Social networking sites are
constantly updating and providing new information that keeps us interested and
stimulated. This produces a behaviour of addictiveness where people constantly
want to check, in most cases it is because they have ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing

Identity and Personality are two major topics of interest in
relation to social networking sites, in particular Facebook as it is arguably
the most popular with an estimated 750 million users worldwide. Social
Networking is a big part of daily life and is now how many people choose to
advance their identities. A study by Boyd (2007) observed that young
Individuals on social networking sites spend a considerable about of time
managing and editing their profiles to impress their followers/friends. Another
study from Strano (2008) found that female users are more likely to edit and
change their pictures more often. People use social networking sites to
manipulate other people’s views on their bodies, minds and behaviours in an
attempt to create a false identity and to reach an ideal of ‘perfection.’  A previous study by Ross et al. (2009) has
looked at the five factor model of personality and how this relates to an
individuals usage of Facebook. The five factors of personality are; Neuroticism
(how often they may have psychological distress), Extraversion (sociability and
ability to feel positive emotions), openness to experience (willingness of
different approaches), agreeableness (have sympathy, trust and to cooperate)
and conscientiousness (how organised a person may be). According to Butt and
Philips (2008) those who were high in the neuroticism trait were likely to use
social networking sites to avoid loneliness. An outcome of this study was that
there were very few findings of personality in connection to Facebook usage
which was unexpected.

Since social networking sites began they have been an
interest for psychologists as they are the immediate professionals to see and
understand how individuals cope with these new forms of continual communication
and connectivity.  There are many areas
within social networking that are of interest to psychologists, such as
identity, personality, interpersonal interaction, deception, stalking and
bullying. As well as this they are interested in the benefits and detriments of
social networking and how it effects an individual’s behaviour, mental and
physical health and relationships. A study by Ridings & Gefen (2004)
suggests that social networking alludes to deeper psychological needs such as
the need for a sense of belonging, or the need to project one’s identity.

The idea of social networking is not new and after being
around for more than a decade, social networking sites have now become a part
of everyday life. Social networking refers to any structure that socially
connects people, which can include a range of things such as friendships,
relationships and common interests with people. Online social networking has
allowed this to expand world wide allowing individuals to meet and stay in
touch with people all over the world. It helps to maintain social contacts and
being online can help them to get stronger as it allows you to ask more
personal questions with immediate responses, without having face to face
interaction. According to Brown (2011), we can fall in love online, create
friendships, attend parties in other countries – all without leaving the
comfort of our armchair. Online social networking has other advantages such as
providing communication strategies. It allows; information to be broadcasted to
large numbers of people, personal conversations, instant or delayed
communication, creating individual identities and creating group identities.