Leaving Facebook for a week makes students feel less depressed
It concludes that the students who got off Facebook for a week and consumed less news experience a greater well being.
Many previous types of research have talked about the ill effects of Facebook on the human brain. The platform has been seen as an addiction. A new study conducted talks about the changes seen in college students after they left the social media platform for a week.
The study was conducted on 1,769 college students. It concludes that the students who got off Facebook for a week and consumed less news experience a greater well being. But they valued Facebook more highly in monetary terms after coming from the break.
How was the study conducted?
In 2017, the researchers surveyed these students by randomly assigning them into two groups. One group went off Facebook for a week, while the other group was not restricted from the platform. After the completion of the study, they were asked to place a monetary value on Facebook.
Motive of the study?
The study attempted to find the effects on news awareness, news consumption, feelings of depression, and daily activities of the participants. It also wanted to measure the effect Facebook has on other aspects of life apart from building and supporting social networks (the core motto of the social media platform).
The participants who were not restricted from Facebook were expected to be using the platform for a mean of 1.9 hours per day. One of the researchers speculated that a US adult would spend an average of 38 minutes on the platform and would spend 15-30 minutes consuming news.
In addition to consuming less news, the participants also reported other healthy behaviours like eating out less, making fewer impulsive purchases, and were more efficient with time. This also made them feel less depressed.
Researchers said, “Our results suggest that using Facebook induces feelings of depression.” During the period, the participants who were restricted from Facebook didn't consume news from any other traditional medium.
Why was Facebook's value increased after restriction?
Explaining the reason why the participants restricted from Facebook placed more monetary value to Facebook, researchers say that it might have happened because of these reasons:
1. Interpreting Facebook use as an addiction, they suggest that the reduction in access to news is not a good compensation. The users need a higher payment to be willing to stay away from Facebook longer.
2. If Facebook is addictive, then the week-long restriction should increase the desire to go back to Facebook, which is another reason for the rise in the value of the social media platform.