Study: Your Facebook friends don't care - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Study: Your Facebook friends don't care

(Source: KFVS 12) (Source: KFVS 12)
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

Virtual relationships on social media sites are more popular than ever, but new research suggests your Facebook friends don't really care what you have to say.

Renowned anthropologist Robin Dunbar surveyed the social media habits of roughly 3,400 Facebook users.

He found that on average users could only count on 4.1 of their virtual friends for support during an "emotional crisis."

Participants also said they would only share sympathy on social media with 13.6 of their friends.


Dunbar found users have on average between 155 and 175 friends on Facebook.

Relationship experts say Facebook is good for sharing but not for emotional support.

"Social support makes us feel like we belong and that's a good thing about Facebook, that we have all those friends,
Cape Girardeau psychiatrist Dr. David Van Pelt said. However, emotional support is much more important for our psychological well-being."

One other explanation for lack of empathy, Van Pelt says, is information overload on social networking sites.

"In digital relationships it's easy to get removed," he said. "You look at a Facebook feed, a Newsfeed, the amount of information that comes through in there is just overwhelming."

Van Pelt says it's important to remember not to rank social media self-worth based on responses from virtual friends.

Bottom line, researchers concluded that Facebook is no substitute for face-to-face interactions when it comes to maintaining relationships.

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