Posted by Tom Foremski - January 27, 2012
This study of time spent on Facebook by 425 College students is depressing:
The study, titled “‘They Are Happier and Having Better Lives than I Am’: The Impact of Using Facebook on Perceptions of Others’ Lives,” ... revealed that students who spend a lot of time on Facebook are relatively more likely to perceive other people as having better lives than themselves.
According to the authors, “Those who have used Facebook longer agreed more that others were happier, and agreed less that life is fair, and those spending more time on Facebook each week agreed more that others were happier and had better lives. Furthermore, those that included more people whom they did not personally know as their Facebook ‘friends’ agreed more that others had better lives.”
Meanwhile, people who spent less time on Facebook and more time in “real” socializing with friends tended to be happier than subjects who used Facebook intensively.
Earlier studies have found big differences in the behavior of students who spend long hours online. MediaPost reporter Erik Saas points to a 2010 study that links students who spend a lot of time on social network sites like Facebook as:
"...60% more likely to have four or more sexual partners; 62% more likely to have tried cigarettes; 69% more likely to be binge drinkers; 69% more likely to have had sex; 79% more likely to have tried alcohol; 84% more likely to have used illicit drugs; and 94% more likely to have been in a physical fight."
For some students, I'm sure those numbers will sound more like an advertisement for a good time, rather than as a deterrent to the online life.