Facebook lurking and trolling can do more harm than good to a person's health. Social media might make it easier for people to stay connected to their friends and family but seeing other people's festive holiday pictures and videos can trigger depression, a new study suggests.
People these days are hooked on social media and it is hard to go off the grid and avoid Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter especially when Christmas rolls in. A study conducted at the University of Copenhagen reveals that staying out of those sites during the holidays is good for your mental health.
Social connection is one popular reason for staying hooked on social media but more people spend time in lurking in platforms like Facebook without connecting to anyone. Kicking off this cyberstalking habit could help the average computer user's self-esteem.
Based on the findings from the study's 1,095 participants, most of which were women, using sites like Facebook "can negatively affect your emotional well-being and satisfaction with life." Details of the study published by the BBC warn that lurking on other people's pages could foster envy and irritability.
People who spend endless hours poring over the pages of acquaintances could experience mood deterioration. This is the result of "unrealistic social comparisons." A person may feel irritable after reading posts that they interpret as boastful especially if they are "passive users." One suggestion to improve a person's social media experience is to engage acquaintances in conversation rather than lurking in people's profiles.
The Facebook Experiment looked into a possible treatment for these negative feelings in the form of a one-week ban from using social media. The results showed that those who were deprived of any social media platform for a week reported better self-image compared to those who continued using Facebook. Both the cognitive and the affective well-being of users improved after taking a one-week break from Facebook lurking and trolling.