Facebook says its mission is to “make the world more open and connected,” to help you “stay connected with friends and family.”
But new research suggests quitting Facebook, at least for a short period of time, will actually make you happier and less stressed.
Of the 1,095 participants in the study, 94% of them said they normally visit Facebook as part of their daily routine, with nearly 80% saying they use Facebook for more than 30 minutes each day.
The Institute compared two groups — one group continued to use Facebook as usual, and the “treatment group” couldn’t use Facebook for one week.
According to the study, the treatment group reported “a significantly higher level of life satisfaction.” People from the treatment group reported feeling happier and less sad and lonely, compared to those from the group that used Facebook as usual.
Those that stopped using Facebook also reported an increase in their social activity, as well as increased satisfaction with their overall social life.
There are some other interesting findings from this study — in particular, that people who stopped using Facebook felt less stressed and found it easier to concentrate on tasks.
Still, it’s important to remain sceptical of this study and any wide-ranging implications. The people in the study’s “treatment group” only quit Facebook for one week — that’s a very short amount of time. Taking a week-long break from Facebook is not the same as quitting the platform outright.
So, this study only really addresses people’s short-term feelings after leaving Facebook. It’s totally possible that after two weeks, or maybe a month or two, people that quit Facebook would eventually miss some of the network’s important features, like catching up with their friends quickly, sharing things with others, or connecting with new friends.
If anything, this study serves as an important reminder that social networks like Facebook can facilitate real-life friendships, but they can’t replace physical human contact, which is a key ingredient to our general happiness and wellbeing. Until Facebook’s virtual reality ambitions come to fruition, it’s good to balance one’s online social life with the real thing.
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