“Facebook envy” is a real thing and people who suffer from it are unhappy and likely depressed, says a new study.
The University of Copenhagen experiment involved 1,095 people who are active on Facebook. While half were asked to keep their Facebook habits consistent, the other half were instructed to not log on at all. The experiment was conducted for one week. The study was mostly female, with an average age of 34, and an average friend count around 350. After a 15-minute questionnaire, the participants were randomly placed into one of the groups—users and non users.
Those logging on constantly admitted to suffering high levels of “Facebook envy,” which is feelings of jealously at your friends’ posts.
“Millions of hours are spent on Facebook each day,” wrote author Morten Tromholt. “We are surely better connected now than ever before, but is this new connectedness doing any good to our well-being? According to the present study, the answer is ‘no’. In fact, the predominant uses of Facebook – that is, as a means to communicate and gain information about others, as habitual pastime – are affecting our well-being negatively on several dimensions.”
Most people questioned admitted to using Facebook on a daily basis, but were not aware it could actually have an effect on their depression levels.
For those who logged off, satisfaction and happiness with their own (real) lives increased.
Out of the 888 participants completed, 13 percent admitted to giving in and using Facebook when they were supposed to abstain. They called it a “habitual accident” for the most part.
“To make things clear, if one is a heavy Facebook user, one should use Facebook less to increase one’s wellbeing,” the study’s author summed up.
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