Social media is connecting us in ways we couldn’t have imagined just a short time ago. But it also may be affecting us in ways we never really considered, either.
Social scientists have been studying how Facebook in particular affects mental health. The results are interesting, yet varied. An NPR affiliate examined studies that show how Facebook has had a profound affect on our lives. However, nailing down exactly how it affects us is kind of hard. Some studies have shown that it can promote narcissism or envy. Others show a correlation between time spent on Facebook and depression. Another showed how Facebook makes us happy.
Keep in mind, Facebook is still relatively new—and so is the science surrounding it. But one truth remains. As quoted in the NPR piece, researcher Robert Kraut suggests narrowing your focus on Facebook. Keep in touch with the people you truly care about and ignore the rest.
He says: "In particular, having longer, more substantive communication with people you feel closer to seems to be associated with increases in psychological well-being. You don't get the same effects if the communication is with people who are weaker ties. What seems to be crucial is that these are effortful, targeted communications."
Makes sense. Staying connected with the people you love seems like a notion that’s timeless.
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