Using Facebook May Increase Life Expectancy

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Did you friend someone today? Studies now show that using Facebook could add years to your life.

The research, compiled by James Fowler and William Hobbs of the University of California, San Diego, published in the National Academy of Sciences, examined 12 million Facebook users. It found that people who engaged in online friendships, found through social media, lived longer.

Flickr Image Courtesy: marshillonline, CC BY-SA 4.0
Flickr Image Courtesy: marshillonline, CC BY-SA 4.0

The study focused on people who engaged in moderate Facebook use in conjunction with real-life social connections and interactions.

Users with average or large social networks — that is, in the top 30 to 50 percent — lived longer than those in the lowest 10 percent.

The participants in the trial, born between the years 1945 and 1989, had their online activity monitored for more than six months.

California Facebook users were matched with vital records from the California Department of Public Health. Social media areas examined included the number of Facebook friends, photos of actual offline face-to-face social activity, status updates, messages and wall posts.

Among the moderate Facebook users in the study, those with the highest amounts of offline social activity lived the longest. Those who spent large amounts of time online with no connection to the outside world were considered to be negatively engaging in social media, which resulted in highest levels of mortality.

The takeaway? Online social interaction benefits a person’s health best when it compliments an active and engaging offline lifestyle.

Ronke Idowu Reeves

Ronke Idowu Reeves is a writer and journalist who hails from Brooklyn, NY. Her news and entertainment stories have appeared on WABC-TV-New York, Fox News Channel, VH1, BET.com plus in Sundance Film Festival’s Sundance Daily Insider and People Magazine.