While reading news on my phone with morning coffee, this little nugget appeared about a study conducted by researchers at Stanford University. The topic was Facebook. As the story goes, researchers studied two groups, one which they paid, and one which they encouraged, using their self will, to leave Facebook. One thing that they found out was that....cutting them out of their lives had consequences. Here's what they found:
1. People who gave it up spent less time online-----their Facebook time wasn't just replace by other apps and websites. People spent more time watching TV, but also, more time with family and friends (no surprises there, my emphasis)
2. People were less informed----but also less polarized.
3. Giving up Facebook improved people's mental health. The study found that, on average, those who gave up Facebook reported "small but significant improvements in their well-being." The study also found "little evidence to support the hypothesis suggested by prior work that Facebook might be more beneficial for 'active' users." In other words, engaging on Facebook didn't make people feel better, as Facebook has suggested.
4. Those who left Facebook temporarily said they planned to spend less time on Facebook after the study was over.
Concluding, This isn’t the first study to explore the mental health effects of social networks. But in a world where Facebook is now used by more than 2.3 billion people per month, studying its impact on mental health, news distribution, and tech addition has never been more important.
Regarding my own opinion, as I stand back and read this, thinking about "today" and effects on society, we have technology that spies on us through our own televisions and phones. On a closer level the research seems to bolster argument behaviorally, as I watch the bickering between people on different websites; border raiding and individuals who spend waaaay too much time on opinion based websites who create covert nom-de-plumes used to intelligence gather on former members who leave and go to alternative websites.....It certainly seems to crystallize doesn't it. It wasn't that long ago that someone shouted, "kill Your T.V.!
It wasn't that long ago that someone shouted, kill Your T.V.!
Agreed. Technology, I think, is like fire. It can either warm you or burn you. I suppose it's a matter of how close one stands next to the fire.