Depression over Facebook? The impact of social networks on the psyche

“Social media is often accused of hurting the psyche and well-being. New research suggests that this is probably exaggerated – and Internet platforms are actually better than their reputation,” writes the German edition Southgerman newspaper.

“(…) Social networks beckon us and promise to entertain us,” says journalist Sebastian Herrmann. – some activist on Twitter. And now time is wasted again, and the mood is at zero. (…) Are entire generations really losing their mental health due to the destructive power of social networks? Presumably not: with a high degree of probability the influence of Facebook, Twitter , Instagram and Co. are exaggerated, and the research underlying this claim is often wrong, Dutch psychologists Olga Stavrova and Jaap Denissen write in a new study published in a scientific journal Social Psychological and Personality Science… There is very little evidence of a causal relationship between social media use and severe deterioration in well-being, scientists say.

“Some studies have created a grim picture of the impact of social media,” Stavrova and Denissen say. (…) So, one of the main critics of the influence of smartphones and social networks was the American psychologist Jean Twenge from the University of San Diego. In 2018, together with her colleagues, she published a great work in a scientific journal Clinical Psychologcal Science with dramatic findings that the use of Facebook and Co. associated with depression and even suicide. The media picked up this topic and spread the concern around the world (…) “, the newspaper writes.

“That other scientists soon sharply criticized the study’s methodology and conclusions was ultimately not heard because it was much less exciting. Also, works like the meta-analysis of Candice Owens of the University of California at Davis received rather little attention: analysis 40 separate studies have shown that warnings about the negative mental impact of digital media are grossly exaggerated, “the article says.

“Most studies compare people who use Facebook and Co. with people who do not use them at all or do so much less often. But this does not allow conclusions about cause and effect, argue Stavrova and Denissen. After all, it may be that lonely, unhappy “Introverted people are more likely to spend time on social media. That is, speaking exaggeratedly, depressive disorder is then not a consequence of using Facebook, but a factor that makes the use of this social network especially attractive.”

“For their work, Dutch psychologists assessed data from a representative sample of more than 10 thousand inhabitants of the Netherlands. It was found that the changed behavior in social networks of individuals did not have any effect on their further well-being. , there were no significant changes in mental health later. (…) Researchers also found no convincing evidence that mental disorders are particularly social media. ”

“However, one could argue that after wasting time on Facebook, the mood is really bad. How does this compare with the results of the study? Stavrova and Denissen, in this regard, suggest that the impact of social media use may be only short-term. or maybe days. But this obviously does not translate into clear long-term consequences, “the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports.


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