Social Media Use Linked to Overspending and Overeating, Study Shows

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social media use overspending overeating

Image by Chris Potter (ccPixs.com)

In December 2017, Facebook social scientists posted study results on how the social network affects the mental health and mood of its users.

The blogpost, authored by research head David Ginsberg and scientist Moira Burke, cited several studies accusing social media for the rise in depression, disaffection, and anxiety. “Compelling,” they thought.

One study found a connection between clicking Likes and links and a low sense of mental health.

But research has proven multiple times how passive consumption of social media content can affect your mood.

Social Media Use and Spending

A recent study found a link between unregulated social media use and lavish spending.

The authors, two business school researchers, said that social platforms affect how much you spend, even up to immoderate amounts when unfettered.

Columbia University’s Keith Wilcox and University of Pittsburgh’s Andrew T. Stephen embarked on their study to prove or disprove if social media use can improve self-esteem and overall happiness.

Their premise: people let their guard down or lose self-control when they are happy.

They found, among the 1000 Facebook users studied, that heavy users had lower credit scores on average compared to those who used it less.

The heavy users were also less persistent doing tasks after social media time.

One test asked respondents to bid in an eBay-like auction through an iPad after using Facebook. Those with stronger networks bid up to 30 percent more than they would have spent on an iPad if they had walked into a store.

Social Media Use and Overeating

Wilcox and Stephen went further. They sought for a link between social media use and binging.

Heavy users with stronger networks had higher BMI scores than other users.

“When you’re happy, feeling good about your friends, you let your guard down. You’re not focused on your long-term well-being, you’re focused on now,” Stephen explained.

Spending on Different Social Networks

The study above proved how heavy Facebook usage makes you spend more. How does it fare against other social networks?

Among all social media users, Pinterest users or Pinners tend to spend more. They spend 70 percent more per order than Facebook or Twitter users.

To be fair, Pinterest users want to acquire items. Facebook and Twitter users want to engage with other customers or businesses before a purchasing decision.

How Not to Break the Bank

Rather than ditch social media, experts suggest the following:

  • Admit and talk about it. Admit you have a problem. Talk to a family member or a friend.
  • Set tangible goals to save money. It helps resist the impulse to spend more strongly.
  • Use social media for longer periods, less frequently. Time how long you spend on social media and reduce it gradually. Your overall time spent will drop with time.

Research has proven the link between emotions and overspending. The same link applies for social media use.

The more time you spend on a social network, the happier you are. The happier you are, the more likely you will overspend or overeat.


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Author: Francis Rey

Franz believes voracious readers become good writers. So, he reads anything that piques his interest. He spends his downtime on road trips and binges.

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