New Year’s resolution to quit Facebook could leave you happier, but a little out of the loop
- Many people are planning a social media ‘detox’ this New Year’s to kick off 2021 away from the wiles of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- Studies show that overuse of social networking sites can lead to negative feelings due to the constant overload of news and comparison against friends.
- Even temporarily quitting social media can lead to feeling happier, making more positive choices, and free up more time for productive activities. However, it could leave you a little less informed.
Multiple studies have found that the overuse of Facebook leads to depressive symptoms. Keeping away from the social media platform — for even a week — can lead to a positive impact.
Quitting social media will make you happier
A 2019 study by researchers at Stanford University and New York University called the ‘The Welfare effects of Social Media’ found that once people quit Facebook more a month, they spend less time online overall. Rather than log into forums, chat rooms, or a Twitter war, they prefer real-world interactions instead, or in some cases, watch TV.
AdvertisementThe study also found that people had at least 60 more minutes per day of free time on their hands after leaving Facebook. The American Psychological Association estimates that trying to multitask with Facebook may reduce a person’s productive time by as much as 40%.
The biggest observation, however, is that the 3,000 moderate Facebook users who participated in the study, were much happier after leaving their social media accounts behind.
“Deactivation caused small but significant improvements in well-being, and in particular on self-reported happiness, life satisfaction, depression, and anxiety,” said the study.
There is a catch
While being offline did leave the participants happier and more engaged with the real world, there was one significant catch. The knowledge of news and attention to politics declined to indicate that Facebook is an essential source of information.
“We find that while deactivation makes people less informed, it also makes them less polarized by at least some measures, consistent with the concern that social media have played some role in the recent rise of polarization in the US,” noted the study.
It only takes a little as one week to feel the effects
While the benefits of social media are real, so are the downsides. The study by Stanford University and New York University only confirms what many others have also determined. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology found that using Facebook correlates with being depressed.
AdvertisementThe more people are online, the more they compare themselves to their friends, and the more they feel bad about being inadequate.
Another study by the University of Michigan found that how and when people take breaks from social media is determined by the extent of social media influence on a person’s self-perception.
Even if you don’t want to keep away from Facebook permanently, a temporary break could bring about significant changes. A site called ‘ The Economic Effects of Facebook’ found that it only takes one week away from the platform for the positive vibes to start flowing. As the consumption of the daily nitty-gritty decreases, users start to feel healthier and make more positive life choices, according to Nieman Lab.
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