Here's a great reason to quit your smartphone Facebook app and spend some IRL time with your friends.
A small new study shows that Facebook use seems to predict declines in happiness. In other words, the more you use the pervasive social media tool, the more your life satisfaction drops.
"On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection," study researcher Ethan Kross, a social psychologist and faculty associate at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, said in a statement."But rather than enhance well-being, we found that Facebook use predicts the opposite result -- it undermines it."
The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, included 82 young adults who used Facebook and had smartphones. Researchers gauged their well-being by texting the study participants five times a day for two weeks. The texts had links to online survey questions including: "How do you feel right now?", "How lonely do you feel right now?", "How much have you used Facebook since the last time we talked?", and "How much have you interacted with other people 'directly' since the last time we talked?"
Researchers found an association between increased time using Facebook and decreased well-being. However, they did not find that direct interaction with people -- whether face-to-face, or on the phone -- decreased well-being.
They also were able to rule out the idea that people go on Facebook when they are feeling lonely, because Facebook use and loneliness predicted the happiness levels of the study participants.
Similarly, a study from German researchers published earlier this year showed that going on Facebook made one in three people more dissatisfied with their lives, Reuters reported.
"We were surprised by how many people have a negative experience from Facebook with envy leaving them feeling lonely, frustrated or angry," the researcher of that study, Hanna Krasnova from the Institute of Information Systems at Humboldt University in Berlin, told Reuters.