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New Study Finds That Lurking on Facebook Makes People Miserable

Subjects forced to take a weeklong break from Facebook felt happier with their lives.

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A new study conducted by the University of Copenhagen has found that excessive social media use is connected to a “deterioration of mood.” The study, published in the Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking journal, included over 1,000 participants, mostly women. One group of participants was directed to use Facebook as they usually would, but the other group was asked to abstain from using the social network for a week. The study concluded that "regular use of social networking such as Facebook can negatively affect your emotional well-being and satisfaction with life.”

The researchers found that “lurking” on social media platforms without actually connecting with others can create feelings of envy, induced by "unrealistic social comparisons.” The negative impacts were found to be the greatest in “heavy” and “passive” Facebook users, as well as those who felt that "Facebook-related envy.” In contrast, “the participants who took a one-week break from Facebook reported significantly higher levels of life satisfaction and a significantly improved emotional life.”

In light of the results, the researchers recommend that those suffering from feelings of depression or envy take a weeklong break from using social media. If Facebook makes your miserable, what’s the point?