A New, More Rigorous Study Confirms: Facebook Addiction Makes You Feel Worse
An average person with a Facebook profile and without a Facebook addition spends about an hour on the site daily. What’s more, another survey shows what’s the first thing most smartphone users do when waking up in the morning.
Apparently, they check their social media profiles, usually while still in bed. Nevertheless, we all know maintaining strong, positive relationships with people is healthy and part of everyone’s existence.
While the real social interaction is good for our health and well-being, what can you say about the one that happens through an electronic screen?
Once you open your eyes in the morning and tap on that Facebook icon on your electronic device, how does it affect you?
Facebook Addiction Causes Unfavorable Social Comparison
Past study has shown that the use of Facebook and other social media can reduce the time spent on meaningful activities, detract from face-to-face relationships, and cause internet addiction. Furthermore, it increases sedentary lifestyle, and gradually reduces self-esteem due to unfavorable social comparison.
Since most people post the most positive aspects and moments of their life on their social profiles, others may think their own life is much worse than that of their friends on social media. However, there are some people who think that social media doesn’t cause lower well-being, but the opposite.
They believe those with lower well-being use different social media to improve their lower well-being by improving social support and strengthening real world relationships.
The New Study
The new study wanted to get a clearer picture of how the use of social media affects one’s well-being. The researchers analyzed data from more than 5,000 adults involving measures of Facebook use and measures of well-being. Their purpose was to see how the participants’ well-being changed over time in regards to Facebook use.
Self-reported physical and mental health, life satisfaction, and body-mass index were the measures of well-being. Those of Facebook use were creation of their own posts, liking other people’s posts, and clicking on links. But, the researchers also had measures of real-world social networks of the participants.
They had to name a total of 8 individuals, 4 of them being people they spend their free time with, and the others friends to talk important things with.
What Makes This Study Unique
The researchers had 3 waves of data for most of their participants over a 2-year period. So, this is the first thing why this study is unique – as oppose to other studies which involve only one period of data.
The other thing that makes this study first of its kind is that they got the measures of Facebook use straight from the Facebook accounts of the participants. In contrast, other similar studies got these measure straight from the participants’ self-report.
Moreover, the researchers had information about the participants from their real-world social life. This allowed them compare the face-to-face network influence with that of online interactions.
Still, not all participants gave researchers access to their personal Facebook data, so this means the study also has limitations.
So, the results of this groundbreaking study showed that the real-world social life had positive effects on the participants’ well-being. On the other hand, the Facebook use proved to affect them negatively, especially on their mental health.
The measures of Facebook use in 1-year period showed the mental health of the participants was reduced in a later year.
Both, clicking links and liking other people’s Facebook content predicted a subsequent decrease in several factors. These factors are the participants’ self-reported metal, physical health, and life satisfaction.
Even though the study definitely shows Facebook reduces the well-being, researchers still haven’t found out how that happens. The results showed that it’s not only the quality of social media interaction that matters, but also the quantity.
The results from this study could refer to any form of social media platform. They expose people to the “perfect” profiles of others, eventually leading to negative self-comparison. The interesting part is that you get the impression of doing something meaningful while using the social media.
In conclusion, the quality and nature of social media interaction can’t replace the real-world connection you need for an optimal well-being and healthy life.