KATHMANDU — Days after the Facebook data scandal came out in the public, a group of researchers at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, has found out that quitting Facebook makes the user de-stressed.
The research, led by Prof. Eric Vanman, who is a senior lecturer at the university’s School of Psychology, stated that if you abstain from Facebook activity, stress hormone cortisol drops.
Data of millions of Facebook users was used to influence the choice of voters during the 2016 United States Presidential elections by Cambridge Analytica.
According to the results published in the Journal of Social Psychology, the cortisol level dropped among the members of the group which was asked not to use the Facebook app.
To study the impact of the app of the social networking giant, Prof. Vanman and his team formed two groups, comprising 138 study participants in total.
The researchers then took saliva samples from the participants and asked one of the groups to abstain from the Facebook activity for five days while told the other to continue using the app.
After five days, their samples were again taken.
“Taking a Facebook break for just 5 days reduced a person’s level of the stress hormone cortisol,” Medical News Today quoted Prof. Vanman as saying.
Too much cortisol, which is known to soar when a person is stressed, can compromise immune system, impair memory and make us susceptible to obesity.
Their study also suggested that staying away from Facebook might also make you sadder – at least in the beginning.
“While participants in our study showed an improvement in physiological stress by giving up Facebook, they also reported lower feelings of well-being,” Prof. Vanman says.
Also the findings, according to the researchers, may apply to all social networks.
So if you are hooked to WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram etc. abstaining from social media platforms might reduce your stress levels.
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Excess use of social media may lead to depression and loneliness
Excessive use of social media like Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram could lead to depression and loneliness as this habit is associated with poor well-being,researchers have warned.
A new study, being published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, showed that limiting screen time on these apps could boost one’s wellness.
The study has tried to look into the causal side of things, and see whether people may actually feel better when they cut down on social media.
“Our findings strongly suggest that limiting social media use to approximately 30 minutes per day may lead to significant improvement in well-being,” the authors concluded.
“When you are not busy getting sucked into clickbait social media, you are actually spending more time on things that are more likely to make you feel better about your life,” said Melissa Hunt, associate director of clinical training at the University of Pennsylvania in the US.
For the study, researchers from the varsity, included 143 undergraduate participants. The team designed their experiment to include the three platforms most popular with the participants.
They monitored the students for a week to get a baseline reading of their social media use, and gave them questionnaires that assessed their well-being according to seven different factors: social support, fear of missing out (aka FOMO), loneliness, autonomy and self-acceptance (a measure of psychological well-being), anxiety, depression, and self-esteem.
They collected objective usage data automatically tracked by iPhones for active apps, not those running in the background, and asked respondents to complete a survey to determine mood and well-being.
“Using less social media than you normally would leads to significant decreases in both depression and loneliness. These effects are particularly pronounced for folks who were more depressed when they came into the study,” Hunt told Science Daily.
The researchers chose to limit social media, rather than have subjects stop using it altogether, because it was a more realistic option, she noted.