How do social networking sites affect human behavior?

    The amount of time people spend on social networking sites like Facebook increased dramatically in the past year – this according to a new Nielsen report.

    The amount of time people spend on social networking sites like Facebook increased dramatically in the past year – this according to a new Nielsen report.

    The total time spent online rose by 18% in 2008, while time spent on ‘Member Community’ sites was up 63%.

    How do these sites affect people’s mental health? From WHYY’s Behavioral Health desk, Maiken Scott reports:

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    Transcript:

    For psychologists, the Nielsen report poses as many questions as it answers. Temple University’s Dr. Frank Farley says he is observing a dramatic shift in human behavior:

    Farley: Towards self revelation toward towards dis-inhibition towards letting it all hang out – how is that going to change us?

    One concern is that loneliness will increase as people spend more time online – but Stanford researcher Dr. BJ Fogg says we’ll become more sophisticated in distinguishing different forms of relationships:

    Fogg:
    We’ll understand that I can connect to hundreds of people and those are weak ties or light-weight relationships and I still have very good friends and very close relationships and I’m using the same tool but I just use it in a different way.

    Facebook users have an average of 281 friends in their network.

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