Social networks are supposed to make us feel more connected, but too much time lurking on Facebook can have the somewhat opposite effect, a recent study found. But there's a cure for your Facebook blues — and it's as simple as logging off for a week.
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen looked at 1,095 participants over a one week period, most of them women who spent an average of one hour a day on Facebook. Half of them logged-off Facebook for an entire week, and the other half kept using it as normal.
What the researchers found was that, at the end of the week, the participants who had signed off reported an increase in "life satisfaction" and positive emotions.
But the benefits weren't the same across the board — the "effects were significantly greater" for heavy users and people who already get jealous of other people on their feed.
"Millions of hours are spent on Facebook each day," the study's authors wrote. "We are surely better connected now than ever before, but is this new connectedness doing any good to our well-being? According to the present study, the answer is no."
Anti-social media: This new study's findings are backed-up by previous studies that have indicated Facebook can have a negative effect on well-being, including increasing depression and anxiety — even negatively impacting relationships. And it's not just Facebook, it's other social media platforms too, like Twitter.
But some research has shown that Facebook can sometimes benefit users, even leading to a self-esteem boost in some users. And one recent study from the University of Pennsylvania found that taking pictures of experiences, like the millions uploaded each day to Facebook and Instagram, can actually boost your enjoyment of them.
This new study, however, seems to make a strong case that, if looking at Facebook makes you feel jealous of your friends, or you can't stop checking it — you should probably think about taking a break.