London: Want to live healthier and happier life? Reducing the amount of time spent on social media platforms, such as Facebook, every day could be enough to prevent addictive behaviour, increase well-being and support a healthier lifestyle, say researchers.
For the findings, published in the journal ‘Computers in Human Behaviour’, the research team recruited 286 people for the study who were on Facebook for an average of at least 25 minutes a day. The average usage time per day was a good hour.
All participants were tested prior to the study, one week into it, at the end of the two-week experiment, and finally one month and three months later.
Using online questionnaires, the research team surveyed the way they used Facebook, their well-being and their lifestyle.
The results showed that participants in the group that had reduced their Facebook usage time used the platform less, both actively and passively.
“This is significant, because passive use in particular leads to people comparing themselves with others and thus experiencing envy and a reduction in psychological well-being,” said study lead researcher Julia Brailovskaia from Ruhr University in Germany.
According to the researchers, participants who reduced their Facebook usage time, moreover, smoked fewer cigarettes than before, were more active physically and showed fewer depressive symptoms than the control group. Their life satisfaction increased.
“After the two-week period of Facebook detox, these effects, i.e. the improvement of well-being and a healthier lifestyle, lasted until the final checks three months after the experiment,” Brailovskaia said.
This is an indication that simply reducing the amount of time spent on Facebook every day could be enough to prevent addictive behaviour, increase well-being and support a healthier lifestyle, the researchers said.
“It’s not necessary to give up the platform altogether,” Brailovskaia concluded.