June 28, 2019 - 13:49 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Facebook is just a scapegoat for societal woes and — contrary to popular scientific opinion — may actually improve your mental health, according a to new study, The New York Post reports.
Sure, the social media platform has a bad reputation, with many studies reporting that the more time users spend on Facebook, the worse they feel. Some researchers even claim the platform can ruin a person’s “overall well-being.”
But these previous Facebook studies failed to “isolate new tech from youth,” says Michigan State University media professor Keith Hampton, whose report was published in the latest issue of the Journal of Computer Mediated-Communication.
“Taking a snapshot of anxiety felt by young people today and concluding that a whole generation is at risk because of social media ignores more noteworthy social changes,” says Hampton, naming the residual effects of the Great Recession, an increase in single-child families, older and more protective parents and rising student debt as detriments to mental health.
Hampton tracked data on more than 13,000 adult relationships from a 2015 and 2016 household survey, which included questions on communication technologies and psychological distress.
Social media users, Hampton found, are 63% less likely to experience serious psychological distress including depression and anxiety year over year, a stat which further reduces when those surveyed had family members in good mental health on the platforms.
“Today, we have these ongoing, little bits of information popping up on our cellphones and Facebook feeds — and that ongoing contact might matter for things like mental health,” Hampton says.
But not all researchers are buying Hampton’s hypothesis: Facebook also has been found to make teen girls depressed and damage women’s self esteem. Despite the dark feelings, though, young people can’t seem to quit social media.