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Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus

Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls

Still from Miley Cyrus music video for Wrecking Ball

Offensively-and-dangerously-in-control of her sexuality popette Miley Cyrus has declared that social media is worse than drugs.

In an interview with Australian news magazine program Sunday Night ahead of a tour down under, Cyrus was asked whether her use of marijuana has deleterious effects on her health. Her response was to dismiss the notion and instead offer the following pearls of wisdom:

“You know what hurts your brain? Googling yourself. You know what hurts your brain? Instagram. You know what hurts your brain? Reading comments on Facebook. You know what hurts your brain? Reading US Weekly."

Cyrus comments were made in the context of sometimes-cruel online comments made about her behaviour, but it turns out she may be on to something because a recent Italian study, Online networks and subjective well-being, has found that “the use of online networks may threaten subjective well-being in several ways”.

The study, which used data drawn from the Italian National Institute of Statistics' Multipurpose Household Survey survey of around 24,000 households and 50,000 individuals. Authors Fabio Sabatini and Francesco Sarracino, from the Sapienza University of Rome and Luxembourg's Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques du Grand-Duché du Luxembourg describe a complex means of correlating data from that survey with broadband prevalence and likely availability of social networks.

The paper hypothesises that the many opinions found online can expose people to ideas that challenge their world view, make them feel less exceptional and, when opinions are strident or include hateful content, offend them.

The paper concludes that “online networking exposes individuals to the risk of worsening people’s trust in others and therefore people’s life satisfaction.”

“This finding suggests the need to update social networking sites’ policies against hate speech and aggressive behaviors, as already requested by a growing number of advocacy groups, particularly focusing on gender- or race-based hate.”

Which sounds like just the kind of think poor Miley encounters from the haters.

At least she can go online: the paper also finds that those who cannot access social networks are in trouble, as they fall on the wrong side of an emerging digital divide. ®

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