A new study has revealed that social media may be good for one’s health; if it is used correctly. As more people are moving away from family and friends these days, as well as those towns they are born in, many ties are being broken as such, causing increase feelings of social isolation and loneliness. Apparently social networks can help bridge these gaps for people, as recent research suggests.
Studies in the past have indicated the health benefits to having close friends around. A nine-year-long study conducted in the late ‘70s revealed that people without any social interaction or community were 2.8 times likelier to pass away earlier than expected, versus those with a close network or community.
Things have changed dramatically since then, and a recent study reveals that Facebook (FB) can help increase an individual’s life span. Still, this comes with a catch. According to the study’s authors, the benefits occur only when the social media platform is used to foster and better social connections in real-life.
The research, which was lead by James Fowler and William Hobbs from the University of California, reviewed 12 million FB users. The team matched FB users in California to the California Department of Public Health’s vital records.
The study monitored the online activity for a period of six months of individuals born between 1945 to 1989. The team reviewed the FB activity of those individuals who were still alive, versus the ones that had past away.
A major reveal through Medical News Today in regards to the research from the get-go was that FB users live longer than their counterparts who are not online. In any given year, an average FB user is about 12 percent less likely to pass away than an individual who does not use the social media platform at all. In fact, those with above average or average connections, which is about 30 to 50 percent, lived longer than users in the low 10 percentile group. These results go hand-in-hand with previous research that indicates strong, offline relationships help with increased lifespan.
What also came into consideration when as it relates to this study was the number of messages, wall posts, status updates, photos, and friends a user may have. Offline social interaction was higher if individuals posted an increased number of photos as it relates to face-to-face social interaction. In fact, the study revealed that FB users with the most levels of social activity offline also had the highest levels when it came to longevity.
Average activity around online-only users (i.e. sending messages and writing posts) were also linked to higher levels of longevity. The study also revealed that users who accepted high levels of friendship requests, also had an increased lifespan.
In a world where social media creates cyber bullies, internet rage, and hate posts – who knew Facebook could actually do some good to one’s life?