Online exclusion hurts us just as much

People who are excluded online can feel just as bad as those who are left out in real life. This is the suggestion of new research published in Computers in Human Behaviour, which found many individuals often feel ignored when using social network sites such as Facebook.

Investigators from Misericordia University and Penn State noted users can use such portals as a way of excluding others without the need for any awkward face-to-face interaction.

Joshua Smyth, Professor of Biobehavioural Health and Medicine at the Penn State, observed it would be widely expected for rejection via the web to not be as painful - but the study noted such actions can bring similar psychological reactions when performed either online or in person.

Professor Smyth stated: "If you've ever felt bad about being ignored on Facebook, you're not alone."

He added, however, that those affected by online exclusion are likely to be individuals who have grown up with communicating via the internet - suggesting the same might not hold true for older generations.

Nadine Field, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "Research published in the Lancet in August 2009 demonstrated that the intensity of online treatment in the therapeutic relationship was a significant factor in the speed of recovery from depression

"The online social medium can be equally intense in the frequency, personal intimacy and a sense of inclusive involvement engenders. 

"It would follow therefore that a sudden exclusion from this would be both bewildering and painful as no explanations are given - or even possible to understand and resolve, as they would be in face to face contact."