Social media is either one of the best technological advancements of our time or the first step toward the end of civil society.
There is no denying that it is a place chock full of digital pecker gnats and other swarming, leeching beasts hellbent on getting stuck in our craw.
If we’re not coming across horrific news about pedophile priests or finding ourselves bombarded by mindless political rants, we’re there, at just the right moment, to catch a gut-punching glimpse of the guy our ex-old lady is banging or any number of other unpleasant sights that cause frizzles of the brain.
In fact, it is because of these potential emotional collisions that most of the research on the subject shows that anyone who spends time on social media is like a drug addict and possibly borderline masochist willing to fake a life for the enjoyment of others.
Yet, even though most of us understand the downside to log on to these mind-numbing spaces, we, in all of our dumbassery, keep coming back for more. Even NBA players can’t get enough.
However, if the latest exploration into the psychological effects of social media carries any weight whatsoever, there is a chance that we might actually be doing ourselves some good by surfing these sites.
Researchers at Michigan State University have found that engaging in social media might actually improve the mental health of adults.
In a completely different take than what previous studies have shown, their paper suggests that participating in social media seems to reduce anxiety and depression by giving users access to the relationships that humans need in life to feel whole.
Presumably, the positive effect on mental health that they speak of is only if you are not one of those dipshits who insist on looking at Spring Break photos of his ex-girlfriend doing tequila shots off some strange dude’s abs.
Just go ahead and unfollow her already, you’re killing yourself!
The results of the study were devised through the examination of 13,000 adults who took part in a popular household survey.
They found that more than 60 percent of the adult respondents were actually less likely to suffer any psychological distress as a result of getting on social media.
The outcome was even better when the user had the opportunity to interact with family members, just as long as those people were not suffering from mental deficiencies of their own.
The other 40 percent were likely curled up in the fetal position by the computer trying to find a reason to live.
Where all of the pain and suffering from social media seems to hit the hardest, or so researchers say, is where it pertains to kids.
“Taking a snapshot of the anxiety felt by young people today and concluding that a whole generation is at risk because of social media ignores more noteworthy social changes, such as the lingering effects of the Great Recession, the rise in single-child families, older and more protective parents, more kids going to college and rising student debt,” said lead researcher Keith Hampton.
Overall, it is the connection that outlets like Facebook and Instagram allow us to experience that makes it good for the soul, researchers concluded.
Receiving notifications throughout the day is just another way for people to feel like they are part of a community, regardless of how shut off from the world we might be, and it gives them the sense that they are the socialites that they wish they could be in real life.
But considering all of the despicable, gutless trolls that we’ve seen rear their ugly heads on these platforms in our day, it doesn’t take a scientist to know that there comes a time when you just have to sign off and find some actual human contact.
Everyone is a Billy Badass on social media, always quick to criticize, talk shit and degrade each other just because they can without getting their heads busted open.
There is, most of the time, more civility and fellowship to be found down at your neighborhood bar and grill.
So, that’s where we advise you to go when you start longing for more community.
It sure beats posting a cat meme and waiting for the comments to roll in.
[via Interesting Engineering]
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