Social media usage linked to a longer life if used right.
A lot of research has been done to determine the health effects of using social media and well-being in general with conflicting results. Some of the studies found that using social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram results in increased risk of depression, reduced self-esteem and increased feeling of insecurity. While other studies found the opposite of this, a simple comment by a friend can boost significantly the user’s mood.
According to a new study on 12 Million Facebook users, social networking sites are associated with a longer life when used right that is used to enhance and not replace real-life social interactions. People with larger real-life social networks tend to live longer, and now it has been seen that online friendships play a significant role too.
“I think our findings speak to a debate that has taken place between people who think that social media usage is bad for us and those who think it’s good for us, and that debate has not always been based on evidence,” co-author James Fowler, Ph.D., professor of political science and global public health at UC San Diego, told RealSimple.com. “This is some of the first evidence we have that shows that people who use social media more are healthier.”
It is important to note here that the key to reap those health benefits is the right amount and the right type of activity in the social media usage.
“Interacting online seems to be healthy when the online activity is moderate and complements interactions offline,” co-author William Hobbs, PhD, who worked on the study as a UC San Diego doctoral student and is now a postdoctoral fellow at Northeastern University, said in a press release. “It is only on the extreme end, spending a lot of time online with little evidence of being connected to people otherwise, that we see a negative association.”
Social media is very popular in Kenya and around the world in general, with over 5 Million Facebook users in Kenya and growing, 1.7 Million twitter users and 2-3 Million Instagram users. These figures are growing each day especially among the youth of Kenya. About 9% of Africans use social media. It is therefore important to use social media positively, enhance health and longevity of our lives by enhancing online friendships but not replacing the real-life social interactions.
In conclusion, social media usage is good for our health and longevity of life if used right to enhance our real-life social interactions and not replace them.
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