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A new study has revealed that feeling of loneliness drives people to social networking sites, most commonly Facebook.
Researchers found that lonely individuals who are shy or have low social support may turn to Facebook to compensate for their lack of social skills or social networks in face-to-face settings.
The study done by Hayeon Song, an assistant professor of communication at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, found that there is a relationship between Facebook use and loneliness.
Based on the research, he concluded that the feeling of loneliness brings its users to Facebook, rather than because Facebook makes people lonely.
Facebook was chosen because it is the most popular online social media site with people using it to share personal information meet people and develop friendships.
For several decades, researchers have been looking at whether internet use, in general, is psychologically beneficial or detrimental.
Basically, researchers have had two conflicting hypotheses about what they call the ‘internet paradox,’ Song said.
Does spending so many hours with a machine keep people from making real connections with other people? Or, does it allow people who are shy or socially awkward a chance to connect with others in a way that’s more comfortable for them than face-to-face communication? Song questioned.
The conclusion was made after analyzing published studies which indicated that as loneliness increases, the time spent on Facebook increases.
Song further said, the social networking site does not help in reducing loneliness even if we feel more connected while using it.
His team also looked at the cause-and-effect relationship between loneliness and Facebook use and found that non-lonely people use Facebook, but they also maintain rich personal communications and relationships without it.