Facebook: Providing Social Connections, But at the Expense of Your Well-Being?

Daniel Bogran

According to a study published in the Public Library of Science journal, researchers at the University of Michigan found that using Facebook can lead to unhappiness.

“Everyday Facebook use leads to declines in subjective well-being, both how happy you feel moment to moment and how satisfied you feel with your life,” Ethan Kross, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, said to ABC News.

Nvate Facebook and unhappiness, well-being, social connections, social media

Kross and others analyzed 82 active Facebook users, who had an average age of 20, over the course of two weeks. They kept in contact with the participants five times a day by texting them at random intervals to see how they felt.

“On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection,” Kross told CBS News. “But rather than enhance well-being, we found that Facebook use predicts the opposite result, it undermines it.”

Researchers found that though users on Facebook felt themselves to be more connected to friends than those who didn’t use the networking site, the more they used it, the worse they felt afterward. What’s more, these effects lasted over the course of a few weeks.

“It’s not the case that people use Facebook more when they feel bad,” Kross said to ABC News. “It is something unique about Facebook use that is making people feel worse.”

Apparently this is all to do with the fact that when users get on the social media website, they see others living seemingly incredible lives. Thus, they can’t help but compare their own lives with the lives of others.

“When you’re browsing Facebook, you see people depict glowingly positive stuff. There is a social comparison process at play,” Kross said.

“There is this imagination or fantasy that other people’s lives are better,” Dr. Sudeepta Varma, an assistant professor of psychiatry at New York University, told ABC News. “Facebook keeps people in the know about what other people are doing, but also about what they themselves are not doing.”

So is it all doom and gloom? Well, not exactly. There are things that can be done for this to be avoided. The most obvious of these is to simply get rid of your Facebook. Yet it needn’t necessarily be that drastic.

Researchers have found that face-to-face interactions, as well as talking over the phone, do not appear to lower the well-being of people. In anything, researchers found that physical interaction with other people makes others feel better over time. Thus, getting out every now and then and actually communicating physically with others may help.

Another thing that could help drastically is mere awareness. “People should be aware that Facebook can have these effects on you,” Oscar Ybarra, one of the leaders of the study, told ABC News. “Awareness is important, and it’s also important to remember that Facebook is a public place where you get a very biased version of people’s lives.”

This mere awareness of the fact that Facebook creates the potential for a certain type of comparison politics might aid in making users wearier of playing such games that appear to be to the detriment of their health and well-being.

Yet another solution would simply be to utilize the discipline of moderation. As the research suggests, the more users find themselves on the site, the more depressed they are likely to get. Thus, shockingly, maybe a little less time by the computer really isn’t such a bad idea.

Ultimately, no matter how users of the networking site choose to take this news, it is important that they at least ponder on the potentially hazardous effects constant Facebook use is likely to have on their psychological state.

More To Read:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *