Just about everyone has a Facebook account these days. However, a new study may have proven that the few of us who don’t engage with the social media giant just might be better off. It turns out, Facebook may have a negative impact on our well being.
Data from 2016 shows that the average user spends approximately 50 minutes on Facebook a day. I think it’s safe to say many of us log in for a lot longer. According to the study, the more we use it, the more Facebook makes us unhappy.
The research was conducted by Holly B. Shakya of the University of California and Nicholas A. Christakis of Yale University.
Although previous studies on social media and harm have had similar findings, they were either limited in scope or focused on multiple social media sites rather than only on Facebook.
This is also the first study to focus on quantity of time spent on social media, rather than solely on quality of time, which contributes to a decreased report in ‘happiness’.
For this study, 5,208 subjects were recruited in three groups (2013, 2014, and 2015), and each wave’s Facebook activity was monitored for a period of two years. The study confirmed a decrease in well-being the more one used the platform.
Simple actions on Facebook such as clicking a link, updating your status, or clicking ‘like’, were, on average, associated with a decrease of five to eight percent in mental health well-being.
Other information taken directly from users’ accounts was also taken into consideration such as time spent online, number of friends, and how often a user reacted to a post.
Researches Shakya and Christakis explained that to calculate well-being they measured self reported mental health and self reported physical health. They were able to link specific activities to the decrease in ‘happiness’.