Many of us have suspected it – but baby pictures on Facebook chip away at your soul, bit by bit by bit.
Spending hours on Facebook reading about the best bits of other people’s lives can lead to depression, according to University of Houston researchers.
Most people can use Facebook perfectly safely – but some find themselves obsessing over how their lives compare to others, and can end up depressed.
The researchers suggest that people who ARE depressed could be treated by restricting access to social media.
The problem comes from seeing ‘edited highlights’ of everyone else’s lives, so that you feel your own doesn’t match up, the researchers said, after analysing results of two studies.
Researcher Mai-Ly Steers said, ‘It doesn’t mean Facebook causes depression, but that depressed feelings and lots of time on Facebook and comparing oneself to others tend to go hand in hand.
‘Most of our Facebook friends tend to post about the good things that occur in their lives, while leaving out the bad,’ Steers said.
‘If we’re comparing ourselves to our friends’ ‘highlight reels,’ this may lead us to think their lives are better than they actually are and conversely, make us feel worse about our own lives.’
For people with pre-existing emotional difficulties, Facebook use can be particularly destructive, Steers warned.
‘This research and previous research indicates the act of socially comparing oneself to others is related to long-term destructive emotions. Any benefit gained from making social comparisons is temporary and engaging in frequent social comparison of any kind may be linked to lower well-being,’ said Steers.