Researchers Paid People To Take A Facebook ‘Detox,’ And This Is What They Found
Facebook is such a dominating force in our society; it might be impossible to imagine life without it. Researchers at Stanford University and New York University decided to measure the impact of the social media giant and paid participants to quit Facebook temporarily. Believe it or not, people managed to survive being disconnected from the 24/7 platform and displayed some fascinating results.
Cashout For Blackout
Researchers at Stanford University and New York University figured they would have to lure people with money to get users to give Facebook the boot for four to eight weeks. Of course, not everyone was willing to be baited by the offer of monetary compensation, but around $100 a month was enough to convince 2,844 people to deactivate their account. What researchers uncovered after users walked away from social media for a month or more was astonishing.
Study participants discovered that staying away from Facebook increased their levels of happiness. Users may have been less informed about general political news and current events, but they showed lower levels of polarization and spent more time with friends and family offline. Depression and anxiety levels went down, and many users felt an improvement in life satisfaction and less outrage.
Unplugging From Social Media
FOMO is real for many, as the need to share, like, and comment on posts is a powerful force. Heavy users of Facebook may spend upwards of ten hours a day on the social media platform. It was challenging for Stanford and NYU to find willing participants for this study despite the offer of money. Many Facebook users couldn’t bear the thought of being unable to log-in and stay current on the digital lives of friends, families, and strangers for too long.
Taking a hiatus from Facebook allowed people to reconsider their expectations and acceptance of non-stop consumption of trending topics, entertainment, political events, and news. Stanford and NYU’s study helped reveal how people’s interaction with Facebook’s social media feed, typically reflected a polarizing, narrow worldview that mirrored what users wanted to read or see. Facebook has heavily influenced users’ political views, decision making, and point of view, which displays itself in people’s behavior and relationships online and offline.
Facebook has transformed how we communicate with others and connect to daily events, people, and places. The ability for Facebook to disrupt and influence offline activities, such as presidential elections, shows how difficult it is for users to discern what is real or valuable when consuming posts online social media.
Facebook still needs to address how its platform impacts mental health and well-being, encourages political polarization and sways users’ offline behavior. Stanford and NYU’s study proved that there are significant, positive benefits from detoxing from Facebook. Users can thrive and enjoy a vibrant and fulfilling life offline, despite being unplugged from the social media giant for a while.
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