Researchers at the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen have claimed that using social media sites, particularly Facebook leads to depression and people who choose to abandon it experience a significantly higher level of life satisfaction compared to those who do not.
For the study, researchers conducted an experiment on 1095 people in Denmark and they divided them into two groups:
- The Control Group, who continue to use Facebook as usual.
- The Treatment Group, whom researchers made to abandon using Facebook for one week.
After a week of analysis, researchers found that the participants from The Treatment Group, who had not been on Facebook, said they were more satisfied with their lives with 88 percent of them describing themselves as “happy” compared to 81 percent from The Control Group.
Researchers also reported that 84 percent of the participants from The Treatment Group said they appreciated their lives compared with 75 percent in the other group, and only 12 percent described themselves as dissatisfied, compared with 20 percent among the participants from the Control Group, who continued using Facebook.
Not only were the participants from The Treatment Group satisfied with their lives abandoning Facebook, they also reported having a richer real-world social activity and were significantly less angry and lonely than the participants from The Control Group.
“We focused on Facebook because it is the social media that most people use across age groups,” said Meik Wiking, CEO of Happiness Research Institute, in a statement at AFP.
Previous study at University of Innsbruck also claimed that using Facebook causes depression, but there were only 263 participants. Well, regardless of the number of participants, the experiment yielded some interesting results – the group who spent time on Facebook had a lower mood compared to those who did not.
“Facebook distorts our perception of reality and of what other people’s lives really look like. We take in to account how we’re doing in life through comparisons to everyone else, and since most people only post positive things on Facebook, that gives us a very biased perception of reality,” Wiking also told The Local.
Facebook does really affect us in almost every way and I do not think anyone can quit it regardless of their experience. It is said that Facebook users are 39 percent more likely to feel less happy than non-user.
[Hat Tip: AFP, Happiness Research Institute: The Facebook Experiment – Does Social Media Affect The Quality Of Our Lives? (PDF) | Image: Photo: Iris/Scanpix via The Local]