Facebook does not decrease social interactions


Facebook isn’t decreasing the time people spend with each other, new research finds.

The researchers found that the use of social media was not associated with changes in direct social contact and could in fact improve social well-being.

The adoption of new technologies, from smartphones to social media, has raised concerns about their potential for reducing happiness and social interactions.

The current study, conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri, is the latest to suggest that social media does not negatively impact face-to-face interactions.

Social media use does not decrease face-to-face social interactions, new study finds

“People tend to assume the worst of the emergence of technology,” said researcher Mike Kearney, assistant professor in the University of Missouri School of Journalism. “The assumption that the use of social media has a universal and negative effect on face-to-face social interactions is tenuous at best.”

The investigators, led by Kearney, conducted a long-term and short-term experiment for their study.

The first experiment, which tracked the social media use of 2,774 people from 2009 to 2011, found that increased social media use was not associated with changes in direct social contact.

The second study, which surveyed 116 adults and students via text messaging over five days, found that using social media earlier in the day had no impact on future social interactions.

There has been controversy over whether people are using social media to replace face-to-face interactions.

A 2017 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that social media use was associated with feelings of social isolation.

Meanwhile, a 2016 study published in New Media & Society found that while people use social media to “people watch,” they still seem to enjoy and engage in face-to-face interactions.

The present study, published in Information, Communication and Society, suggests that time may be an important consideration when it comes to studying the effects of social media.

For example, Kearney said that while time spent using social media sites like Facebook does not detract from other social interactions, it is likely that using any type of media is borrowing time that could be used for face to face interactions.

“People are spending more and more time using the internet and other media that can replace the time they could use to talk face to face, but that doesn’t mean they’re worse at it,” said Kearney.

“People ultimately need to be responsible for maintaining their relationships, whether through social media or other means.”

Researchers in the second, shorter and smaller study found that passively watching social media, where users browse conversations without actively participating in it, led to lower levels of happiness if that person had been alone earlier in the day. daytime.

“People who only use social media are probably not meeting their social needs face to face,” Kearney said. “So if they don’t see their social needs met in their lives outside of social media, it makes sense that looking at social media could make them feel even more lonely.”

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