Study shows that in just one week, those who stop using the social network have higher levels of well-being
The recommendation to disconnect from social networks has been around since the birth of smartphones . The ease and immediacy to have access anytime, anywhere allows users to be permanently connected and has led to various forms of technological addiction: from the fear of seeing through the network how your friends have fun without you until Nomophobia (fear of leaving home without the cell phone). Now, a new study from The Happiness Research Institute concludes that in just one week, people who stop using Facebook feel happier and less worried.
The study authors divided the 1,095 participants into two groups. Those of the former should not connect to Facebook for seven days; While those in the control group continued to use the network normally. During this time, the researchers measured moods such as happiness, sadness, worry, anger, enthusiasm and feelings of loneliness and depression.
On the last day of the experiment, the scientists asked how the participants felt. And the changes were evident: those who had stopped using the social network admitted they were happier and less sad and lonely. In addition to the positive feelings, they noticed an increase in their face-to-face social activity and less difficulty of concentration. They also had the feeling that they had wasted less time during the study week.
These findings coincide with statements by many experts that social networking users only show in their profile the part of life they want others to see: the good news – 61% of people post only the good things that happen to them – The retouched photos, the thoughtful and seemingly casual framework … They project an unreal life that makes half of the users envy the experiences that others share in their profiles. And may a third be envious of the apparent happiness of your Facebook contacts. According to experts at The Happiness Research Institute, social networks “are like a channel that only conveys good news, a steady stream of edited lives that distort our image of reality.” Like this,
One of the difficulties of the researchers to develop the study was the impossibility of controlling if the participants resisted the temptation to join Facebook. On average 94% of users visit your profile automatically and routinely. Therefore, the scientists asked participants to uninstall the application from their devices. Despite the advice and voluntary presentation to the experiment, 13% of them were not able to spend that time without going into the profile and checking the notifications.
Regarding the limitations of the study, the researchers acknowledge that the predisposition may have affected the results. Participants were volunteers – albeit randomly assigned to groups – which could mean that they were somehow interested in not using Facebook or starting to use it for less time. The results may be due, in part, to the placebo effect: participants expected to feel better when they disconnected.
This is not the first survey indicating that many users would be happier if they used less social networks. The study The Use of Facebook Predicts a Decrease in User Well-Being , conducted in 2013 by the University of Michigan, shows that levels of satisfaction with participants’ lives declined throughout the survey with continued use of Facebook. Another study, conducted in 2013 by Humboldt University and the Technical University of Darmstadt, both in Germany, concluded that one in three people feels bad and more dissatisfied after visiting Facebook. The study, Envy on Facebook: A Hidden Threat to User Satisfaction , has discovered that this is because they feel envy, which leads to frustration, bitterness and loneliness.