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Just How Harmful is Facebook? Research Suggests it is Bad For Your Health

Reaffirms the fears about the impact on physical and mental health.


Let’s get one thing straight—a lot of us are addicted to Facebook, irrespective of whether we realise it or not. Be it on phones, laptops or even the smart tv, Facebook is everywhere. In one avatar or the other. All this, as it turns out, can be quite bad for your physical and mental health. We’ve heard it before, and researchers from the University of Surrey have given us a timely reminder too. In a research titled “Social media use and perceptions of physical health”, Dr. Bridget Dibb and her team of researchers from the University of Surrey illustrate the results of a survey done, to perceive self-esteem, physical health, and life satisfaction after active Facebook usage. The responses of as many as 165 respondents were analysed. 
The research suggests that users who compare themselves to others based on what they see on social media profiles and posts, are also much more aware of physical ailments, including sleep issues, weight fluctuations, and muscle tension. Similar results were found for those experiencing anxiety and depression as well. “Younger participants reported more physical symptoms (worse physical health). Anxiety, depression and negatively interpreted comparison (downward and upward) were all associated with more physical symptoms (worse physical health),” suggests the report. Negatively interpreted comparisons were associated with more anxiety, depression and more physical symptoms, such as worse physical health. 


This is perhaps just how social media works. Sites such as Facebook and Instagram allow users to portray a completely different picture (No pun intended) of themselves which followers and friends may perceive as reality. That may not be true. All those fancy cars and globe trotting may not exactly be how it is, but may have been portrayed in a way that would make those seeing the updates feel inadequate, hence developing physical and mental health issues. 
With the constant scrolling through timelines to see what others have posted, waiting for "likes" and reactions to your posts as a source of validation and getting too involved in social media conversations can, as proved by this research and many before it, evoke negative reactions as well as cause health issues. It might just be time to log off from Facebook for a bit, and get some fresh air instead? 



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Thought of the day

“We do not see things as they are. Instead, we see the things as we are.”