Social media is getting in the way of real-life friendships, new study claims

Online connections are becoming increasingly 'superficial' 

Rob Knight
Friday 01 February 2019 16:47 GMT
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Facebook’s content moderators are based in a facility in Arizona, operated by contract vendor Cognizant, where employees told the tech website that they cope with using drugs and having sex while on the job.
Facebook’s content moderators are based in a facility in Arizona, operated by contract vendor Cognizant, where employees told the tech website that they cope with using drugs and having sex while on the job.

Addiction to social media is getting in the way of making friends in “real life” a new study has claimed.

Researchers polled 3,053 adults and found their obsession with socialising online made many less likely to go out and meet people.

In fact, six in 10 adults admit they spent less time catching up with friends since the world became more digital.

In addition to this, 55 per cent of those polled believe social media has made relationships with their friends “more superficial”.

The research was commissioned by Pernod Picard and found just 23 per cent of friends on Facebook are considered genuine by those polled.

It could be the reason why a third said they wished they had a greater number of close friends.

British anthropologist and psychologist Professor Robin Dunbar said: “The limit of friends you have is set by your capacity to invest time and mental effort in them.

“That’s why people who are in love can typically only cope with four other close relationships and that’s because they’re already investing a lot of time and effort in the object of their affections.

“However the more close relationships you have, the higher your levels of happiness.

Social media influencers posing in freezing temperatures for perfect winter Instagram picture

He added: “With this in mind, making small changes to our lifestyles, like cutting down on social media, can give us more time and space in the ‘real world’ to embrace convivial moments with friends.

“And doing this is what creates close, fulfilling and happy friendships.”

The research also found social media, busy lifestyles, long working hours, parenting and living too far can lead friendships to fizzle out too.

On the flipside, the positive impact of social media has also been felt by 22 per cent of those who were polled.

Furthermore, over a fifth have made a new and genuine friend through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram within the last six months.

The research, carried out via OnePoll, found the typical Briton has an average of 12 friends, yet feel they can only truly confide in four of these.

Meanwhile, 56 per cent believe conviviality – sharing genuine moments with family and friends – is key to maintaining close friendships.

Saying that, 59 per-cent believe the UK is a lot less convivial than it was five years ago.

Alexandre Ricard, chairman & CEO of Pernod Ricard, said: “There is a real yearning for connection and sharing in today’s world.”

In an effort to encourage more people to be convivial, Pernod Ricard has made a film called The Power of Conviviality.

SWNS

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