As our social lives have moved onto social media sites like Facebook over the past decade, there’s been a lot of hand-wringing over what all that screen time might be doing to our health.
But according to a new paper*, time spent on social media could be associated with a longer life.
The paper, published in the journal PNAS on Monday, asserts that the health effects of active online social lives largely mirror the benefits of busy offline social lives.
“We find that people with more friends online are less likely to die than their disconnected counterparts,” the paper says. “This evidence contradicts assertions that social media have had a net-negative impact on health.” (Más)
The social media site, Facebook, can be an effective tool for connecting with new and old friends. However, some users may find themselves spending quite a bit of time viewing Facebook and may inevitably begin comparing what’s happening in their lives to the activities and accomplishments of their friends.
According to University of Houston (UH) researcher Mai-Ly Steers, this kind of social comparison paired with the amount of time spent on Facebook may be linked to depressive symptoms. Steers’ research on the topic is presented in the article, “Seeing Everyone Else’s Highlight Reels: How Facebook Usage is Linked to Depressive Symptoms” published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.
“Although social comparison processes have been examined at length in traditional contexts, the literature is only beginning to explore social comparisons in online social networking settings,” said Steers, a doctoral candidate in social psychology at UH. (Más)
Lo malo ...
But skeptics will note that Facebook itself was closely involved with the paper. William Hobbs, 29, a postdoctoral fellow at Northeastern University, worked at Facebook as a research intern in 2013.
Another of the paper's authors, Moira Burke, worked on it in her capacity as a research scientist at Facebook. (Ver)