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Research: continuous WhatsApp usage expressing a lower self-esteem


Low self-esteem goes hand in hand with high use of instant messengers
The effects of modern communication channels on self-esteem have so far been insufficiently researched. However, initial studies have only recently come to the conclusion that the use of social networks such as Facebook affects mental well-being. Now Fresenius University of Applied Sciences has published the work of a graduate, in which the frequency of use of so-called instant messagers was associated with a reduced self-esteem.

The work on applied psychology by Fernanda Heinke, a graduate in the field of economics & media at the Fresenius University in Düsseldorf, examined the connection between the frequency of use of instant messengers and self-esteem. The result was clear. "Those who have little self-esteem communicate all the more frequently via Facebook and WhatsApp," reports the university.

Smartphone a constant companion
Modern communication technologies enable communication in a simple and extremely fast way. As a constant companion, the smartphone suggests that we are never alone if we do not want it, reports the study author. Not all people write the same amount, but instant messaging is now part of everyday communication. In her work, Fernanda Heinke investigated the question "whether the groups that write a lot or little differ in terms of their self-esteem."

Effects on self-esteem, life satisfaction and sociability
In the study, the researcher examined possible relationships between the intensity of use of instant messengers and life satisfaction, self-esteem and the shyness or sociability of a person. For this purpose, she anonymously interviewed 267 people between the ages of 14 and 71 using the Internet using a standardized questionnaire. Among other things, the participants should indicate how many minutes they actively use instant messengers such as Facebook or WhatsApp per day.

Low self-worth Cause of high usage?
The study author found that there is a connection between intensity of use and self-esteem. "The lower a person's self-esteem, the more messages are written every day"; Fresenius University reports on the study results. For people with low self-esteem, intensive use of instant messengers and the resulting communication with other people can be a way of increasing self-esteem, Heinke explains the connection. (fp)

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