Facebook, Twitter and the throngs of other social media sites can be fun – but they can also ruin our health, a University of Arizona study found.

Facebook offers instant "friendship"/Ryn Gargulinski

Facebook offers instant "friendship"/Ryn Gargulinski

Sure, we all love hearing about our “friends’” ordeals potty training their children or walking their dogs in the wash, but these superficial connections may end up leaving us lonely, lacking and depressed.

“Relationships that lack strong connections – common when established online through Facebook, Twitter, and the like – can result in feelings of detachment and even health problems such as poor sleep and high stress,” notes an article on CNET.

“And while the precise role that online social networking plays is not fully understood, this research indicates it doesn’t help foster close relationships.”

You think? How absurd to find that the dozens – or even hundreds or thousands – of followers and friends we rack up on our social media accounts don’t count as deep and meaningful relationships.

Superficial and surface relationships have become the norm. Even if such a practice did not make us lose sleep or wallow in misery, it is a dangerous trend.

We even see folks go out on a date, or in another face-to-face encounter with someone else – only to ignore the person in front of them to update their “status” or Tweet one more blurb.

Pretty sick.

For the younger set, the danger is even more pronounced. Kids that relate or communicate only through social media may never learn how to behave in a real-life social setting.

We thought chivalry was dead before – just wait until someone sticks an “unlike” sign on our backs.

Real-life relationships? Who needs them. We have 542 Facebook friends and 12,954 Twitter followers. That must mean we know how to relate.

This doesn’t mean social media is a bad thing. It provides lots of laughs, oodles of information and enjoyable discussions.

It’s also one of the grandest time-wasters ever invented, one that still makes us feel like we’re doing something useful or important.

But it does become detrimental when it serves as the only relationships we have with others. Instant friendship – just click here.

In this very busy world with our enormously busy lives, instant relationships are so much easier than actually investing the time and energy it takes to forge a deep and meaningful one.

So we read about our “friends’” potty training and dog walks and call it a day.

Right after we tend to our Farmville livestock or feed our Facebook fish, of course.

NOTE 1: UA’s Chris Segrin and Stacey Passalacqua conducted this social media study, which included 265 people aged 19 to 85.

NOTE 2: I’m a big Facebook fan – it’s way too much fun. Besides, a good number of my “friends” are friends in real-life. Twitter is OK but tends to overwhelm me.

[tnipoll]

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What do you think?

How much time do you spend each day on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites?

Have you been depressed lately?

Do you think too many people are relying on social media connections as the only relationships in their lives?

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