Oftentimes, social media doesn’t really leave us feeling all that great. Firstly, it’s a greedy vortex of time in which your ‘early night’ very quickly slips away from you, and, secondly, there’s that rising envy that comes of scrolling through a pal’s Greek isle escapades that makes the whole venture a pretty unhealthy use of your evening. Although Facebook does have its positives – an ability to make people feel more connected, especially if they’re physically distant – it’s hard to ignore mounting studies. Being social online isn’t just a poor substitute for offline relationships; some studies suggest it’s an actively damaging alternative.
Just this February, the largest study of its kind was released on the correlation between Facebook usage and a decrease in mental wellbeing. Featured in the Journal of Epidemiology, the study’s authors, Holly B. Shakya and Nicholas A. Christakis, looked at data collected from over 5,200 subjects and the results were palpable.
A “one-standard-deviation increase” (that is, ‘liking’ a status or updating your own, as well as clicking on an article) was associated with a decrease of between 5-8 per cent when it came to self-reporting one’s own mental health.
The Happiness Institute in Denmark also reported similar findings when they asked almost 1,100 participants to quit Facebook for a week. Would it surprise you to know that in doing so, participants reported feeling happier and more satisfied with their social life, while also feeling less sad, less distracted and 55 per cent less likely to be stressed than those who regularly use Facebook?
So, what’s the answer? Like most things, moderation helps. Try tracking your social media usage with an app like AppDetox, which can limit your usage to specific apps. Add a few more social engagements to that and you’re on your way to balance being restored, IRL.
Read More: How To Take A Digital Detox