Is Facebook giving you the blues?
Viewing friends’ photos of vacation sunsets and fun social outings while you’re sitting at the office can actually make you feel sad, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Michigan found that since many young adults compare their lives to others, they are increasingly unhappy the more they log onto Facebook.
“On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection,” said Ethan Kross, lead author of the study in statement. “But rather than enhance well-being, we found that Facebook use predicts the opposite result – it undermines it.”
The study found Facebook users were more connected with their friends and acquaintances than those not on Facebook, but the more frequently people used Facebook, the worse they felt immediately afterward. Additionally, the more they used Facebook over the course of two weeks, the less satisfied and happy they were with their lives as a whole.
Young people typically use social media to connect with others, but the study suggests that in-person communication is a more beneficial and healthier form of communication.
“Facebook might appear to fill the need for basic human interaction, but there is no replacement for face-to-face interaction, which is critically important,” says Brian Waxler, a psychologist at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital. “When friends post updates on Facebook, people tend to compare their own life with that of the person posting. If you’re not at the same place as that person, it can lead to feelings of sadness.”
Dr. Waxler says that social networking should be used for socializing but shouldn’t be taken too seriously. He recommends that people schedule time each week to engage in face-to-face social activities, which are much more intellectually stimulating and emotionally rewarding.
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