A team of scientists from Edge Hill University, led by Linda Kaye, have discovered that spending time on social media, specifically WhatsApp, is good (not bad) for our well-being.
Kaye’s team discovered that this messaging application offers users group chat functions, which has a positive impact on psychological well-being. Thus, the more time people spent on WhatsApp per day, the less alone they felt and the greater their self-esteem was as a result of feeling closer to friends and family.
“There is a lot of debate about whether spending time on social media is bad for our well-being, but we have discovered that it might not be as bad as we think,” Kaye said in a statement. The more time people spent on WhatsApp, the more they related to others and perceived that these relationships were of good quality. In addition to this, the more closely these friendships joined and the more people felt attached to their WhatsApp groups, the more positive was the impact on their self-esteem and social competence. Membership in a group also meant that WhatsApp users were less alone. It seems that using WhatsApp to connect with our close friends is favorable for aspects of our well-being.”
The research, published in the International Journal of Human Computer Interaction, was based on an analysis of 200 users, 158 women and 41 men with an average age of 24 years using this social network about 55 minutes a day.
“This research contributes to the debates in the area of social networks and impact on our well-being,” concludes Kaye. “Specifically, the findings show how including factors related to social capital to link to others is very relevant in this field as a way of understanding how the use of technology is related to psychosocial well-being. Social technology, such as WhatsApp, can stimulate existing relationships and opportunities for communication, thus improving aspects of positive user welfare.”