A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan concluded that while Facebook provides an invaluable service when it comes to building and maintaining connections, it may prove as a source of unhappiness among young adults.
The scientists monitored 82 young adults, each of them owning smartphones and a Facebook account. The participants were text messaged at random points, 5 times a day for two weeks to ascertain how lonely and worried they were, and how they generally felt.
At the end of the study, both results compiled via the text messages, and from a satisfaction survey conducted after the experiment revealed that the individuals reported a decreased level of life satisfaction over time.
The more people used Facebook at one time point, the worse they felt the next time we text-messaged them; the more they used Facebook over two-weeks, the more their life satisfaction levels declined over time.
What’s even more interesting is the fact that these levels of decreased satisfaction were not linked to the size of their network, or other factors such as depression, loneliness or self-esteem issues, among other things, which pretty much leads to the conclusion that Facebook in general has a negative effect on the lives of younger people, no matter what situation they are in.
Interacting with other people “directly” did not predict these negative outcomes. They were also not moderated by the size of people’s Facebook networks, their perceived supportiveness, motivation for using Facebook, gender, loneliness, self-esteem, or depression. On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection. Rather than enhancing well-being, however, these findings suggest that Facebook may undermine it.
So, how about we get off our phones and computers for a little while and actually interact with our peers in a real life setting for a change?