Social Browsing Over Christmas Can Cause Depression
‘Unrealistic social comparisons.’
Researchers warn of envy and a “deterioration of mood” from spending too long looking at other people’s social media stories, induced by “unrealistic social comparisons”.
If this suggests a picture of long irritable hours over a screen, depressed by the boasts and posts of others, then the researchers say that it does not need to be this way.
Actively engaging in conversation and connecting with people on social media seems to be a much more positive experience, suggests the study, published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking.
This seems to be much less gloomy than “passive” users who spend too long “lurking” on social networking websites without getting involved. Another approach to improve well-being, says the study, is to stop using social media altogether for a week.
That’s if you can resist the temptation to look at all those unbearably smug pictures of skiing holidays…
Words by Sean Coughlan