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USF survey reveals the risk of using social media

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Posted at 4:23 PM, Nov 22, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — The University of South Florida released results of a nationwide survey looking at how we use social media, and how it affects us.

“Social media has become central to public life,” said Stephen Neely.

Neely is an associate professor of public administration at USF and he also worked on the survey.

According to the data collected from the survey, more and more people are using social media to shop, connect with friends and family, and post their daily life routines.

“There are a lot of good things about social media. But, on the flip side of that, we see a lot of bad,” said Neely.

The two big takeaways from USF’s survey, which was sponsored by Cyber Florida, are social media’s impact on mental health and the risky online behaviors of users.

Almost a third of adults and teenagers surveyed admitted that social media is having a negative effect on their self-esteem. Some people surveyed even admitted to being jealous of what they see on social media.

“Keep in mind what you’re seeing on social media really isn’t someone’s life. It’s just the pieces of their life they want to show off,” Neely said. “Be careful what you believe.”

Despite concerns over the security of personal information, many social media users continue to engage in risky online behaviors, such as: sharing photos of kids, posting their daily routine, having personal conversations with strangers, clicking on links and signing in to different apps with their Facebook information, and posting when they’re not home.

“It’s very dangerous,” Neely said. “We see about a third of people consistently engaging in some of these behaviors that we caution you against.”

You can view the complete survey below: