20.10.2021 – 17:21
Kaspersky Labs GmbH
The COVID-19 pandemic led to increasingly one-sided relationships, so-called parasocial relationships, also in Germany, as a current Kaspersky study shows . More than a third (37 percent) in Germany believe they can be friends with influencers they follow on social media. Almost one in five (17 percent) in Germany has even sent them private messages. Although this type of relationship remains largely virtual, almost half (48 percent) of users in Germany have already met influencers in real life.
During the pandemic, many people spent more time at home and turned to virtual society to compensate for their lost social life. These one-way digital contacts have an impact on the lives of many social media users. Almost 7 out of 10 (69 percent in Germany) confirm that they follow influencers in areas such as health, hobbies, style and news. Almost a third of the respondents in Germany (31 percent) state that they are dependent on influencer content and 14 percent feel a kind of loss if there is no interaction with influencers.
Many users have sought direct contact with online influencers – mostly through comments under their posts (or using the reaction function on posts or stories (29 percent in Germany).
Social media as an interface to other people
Social media played an important role in many people’s lives during the corona pandemic. Almost two thirds of users in Germany (56 percent) stated that social media was an important interface to other people for them during the pandemic. Agreement with this statement was highest among young people between the ages of 18 and 34 who rely on social media especially for networking purposes. It is worth mentioning that over a third of users in Germany (34 percent,) said they had become less tolerant of other people on social media since the pandemic.
Digital balance is essential, especially in times of crisis
“Although more than a third of the respondents in Germany (39 percent) and half worldwide (56 percent) have been active on social media for more than a decade, many users are still trying to strike a balance between the positive and negative aspects of social media – Finding usage, “says David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky. “We are in a new era where virtual relationships are becoming the norm. These one-way relationships can often lead to people sharing too much private information on social media in an attempt to promote those relationships. However, this can lead to a host of negative ones and unpredictable consequences – such as hacking and phishing attempts as well as doxing, bullying or online shaming. The list goes on. It is understandable that people, with all the lockdowns that we have all endured over the past year, find themselves online – and turn to parasocial relationships to ward off loneliness and boredom. However, it is also important that they are aware of the consequences of over-sharing their private lives online and find a healthier digital balance. ”
“Social interaction is important, but it has to be safe,” explains Emma Kenny, psychologist and founder of the health and wellness social media app, Appy. “Young people in particular spend a lot of time online these days, that connectivity can be positive and far-reaching. The ability to connect with others during the pandemic was absolutely crucial for many of us, but the right balance is key – especially when It’s about parasocial relationships with influencers. It’s important that people are aware of the risks and how to responsibly deal with influencers so they can take full advantage of social media and avoid pitfalls. ”
Berkeley Kommunikation GmbH
Original content from: Kaspersky Labs GmbH, transmitted by news aktuell