Could using Facebook make you sad?

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“Spending time on Facebook can make you unhappy,” the Daily Mirror claims.

The paper reports on a small, short study that found that the more young people used Facebook, the worse they felt, and the more dissatisfied they were with life. The amount they used Facebook reduced how well they said they were currently feeling and how satisfied they were with their lives.

Researchers wanted to know if already unhappy people increase their time using Facebook, or if using Facebook will make people less happy. They claim to have established a definite “direction of travel” in their results: that Facebook use leads to sadness, but not vice versa. However, this claim would need to be validated by larger, longer-term, studies.

Whether the phenomenon of “Facebook status envy” (caused by seeing your friends’ exotic holiday snaps and reading about their wonderful social lives) is affecting people’s mental wellbeing is a matter of debate. Social networks can be useful in strengthening social connections, but logging out and seeing a friend in the flesh is still one of the best ways to keep cheerful. And you could always use an online social network to invite them round. (Source NHS Choices)

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