A large number of friends on Facebook has been linked to higher levels of stress, according to surveys compiled by the University of Edinburgh Business School which found that the more groups of people in someone's Facebook friends, the greater potential to cause offense. No surprise, adding employers or parents resulted in the greatest increase in anxiety. 

The stress happens when a user posts something on Facebook that is unacceptable to some of their online 'friends'. It could be behavior, such as swearing, recklessness, drinking and smoking, or even politics. The more people on a social media friend list, the greater the chances someone will be offended by something and as older people have joined the site, the conflicts have increased. Some 55 percent of parents follow their children on Facebook and, the new paper also claims, more than half of employers claim not to have hired someone based on their Facebook page. 

Researchers found that on average people are Facebook friends with seven different social circles but the most common group was real-life friends (97 percent), followed by extended family (81 percent), siblings (80 percent), friends of friends (69 percent), and colleagues (65 percent). 


The catch; the report is based on surveys of just over 300 people on Facebook, mostly students, and they had an average age of 21. 

Suspending disbelief that anything involving student surveys is meaningful, the report also says that more people are Facebook friends with their former relationship partners than with their current relationship partner. Only 56 percent of users were friends with their boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse online, compared with 64 percent of ex-es. That could be because they got the current ex- when Facebook relationship status updates was something people still did. 

The surveys also claim that only one third use the listing privacy setting on their Facebook profile, which can be used to control the information seen by different types of friends. 

Ben Marder, author of the report and early career fellow in marketing at the Business School, said, "Facebook used to be like a great party for all your friends where you can dance, drink and flirt. But now with your Mum, Dad and boss there the party becomes an anxious event full of potential social landmines."


Join Twitter instead.  Parents really hate that thing.