The Health Benefits Of Facebook and Other Social Media Sites

By on July 16, 2013

With more people able to access fast internet across the world, people are spending more time on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. In addition, with the rapid increase in tablets and smartphones, people can use social media sites wherever they go. People everywhere will be glad to know that there are several health benefits associated with using social media like Facebook. Here are four of them:

(1) Building Stronger Relationships

Keeping in regular contact with your family members and friends helps to build stronger relationships. However, not all family members and friends live close enough for frequent visits. The good news is that there are social media tools that help you connect with people in your life on a regular basis. A survey report by Pew Internet and American Life Project found that Americans who use Facebook several times per day develop closer relationship than other internet users.

A picture can be worth a thousand words. A great way to create stronger bond is to share photos and videos online with your family members and friends. Nowadays, many smartphones like the BlackBerry 10 series can take incredible photos, and Facebook and Twitter offer photo-sharing tools. However, it can be a quite a chore to upload your photos and share them on Facebook or Twitter. BlackBerry has recently announced that it has updated the core ‘Facebook for BlackBerry 10’ app to version 10.2.0, which enables you to create a new photo album or upload photographs directly to an existing album on your Facebook. Furthermore, you are able to tag an existing photo on your Facebook from your BlackBerry 10. The new feature also includes easy toggle between photos and albums. With more people accessing Facebook from their mobile phone, these improvements to apps make it easier than ever to

(2) Increasing Opportunities for Social Interactions

No one likes feeling lonely! And loneliness can have negative effects on your health. Rather than making us lonely, Facebook and other social media sites have enabled us to become more accessible and connected to the world than ever before. Facebook and Twitter are rich platforms for social interactions, allowing users to publish short messages, broadcast news, exchange private messages, play games, and share photos and videos. These social media tools provide the networking ability that enable us to efficiently improve relationships by reconnecting with friends as well as creating and maintaining larger social networks.

The Pew survey report mentioned above indicates that Facebook helps to revive former ties with long lost friends. Overall, the highest proportion of Facebook friends (22 percent) are friends from high school. Moreover, Facebook enables users to meet friends of friends and create new ties. The study showed that seven percent of Facebook friends have never met in person and three percent have met only once.

(3) Developing an Identity and a Sense of Belonging to a Group

Identity formation is an important developmental milestone and emerges in early adulthood. Social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter provide a new context for identity exploration and expression of identities. A study conducted by Georgetown University on college students’ social networking experiences on Facebook found that students used Facebook to express their identity. These young adults often posted media preferences (e.g. favourite books, music and movies) as a way to express identity. They also used the “About Me’ category to describe themselves or provide links to pictures and websites that they like. In addition, these young adults were interested in how their peers presented themselves. They often use Facebook and Twitter to track their the updates of their peers and learn more about the larger group that they belong to.

(4) Improving Cognitive Skills

Over the past few years, the number of elderly people going online and developing a profile on Facebook has increased. Research by the Italian Association of Psychogeriatrics found that social network and IT technology improved elderly people’s cognitive performance and stimulated their attention span, memory, and perception. On Facebook, elderly people read new information that is constantly being posted online; this might have helped them improve their working memory. The study also found that social networking sites such as Facebook help elderly people develop their social support networks. Strong social networks in turn help to reduce isolation, as well as symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression. With the right precautions, Facebook and other social media sites can be great online tools that provide many health benefits for people of all ages!

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