With social media playing such a big part in our lives, the question as to whether it is detrimental to our health is a hotly debated topic.
Well, the results are in: your online life
is could be making your #IRL better.
Researchers at Edge Hill University, England have found that the widely used, text-based instant messaging app, WhatsApp, could actually be good for our well-being!
Their study saw 200 respondents with an average age of 24 complete an online questionnaire which measured WhatsApp use, reasons for using the app, online bonding, quality of their relationships, group identity and psychosocial outcomes (which basically means the relationship between social factors and a persons thoughts and behaviour).
From the study, their participants reported feeling less loneliness and increased self-esteem as a result of online bonding with friends and family.
It appears that on average, participants used WhatsApp for around 55 minutes each day, with participants reporting that they largely use it because of its popularity and group chat function.
Researchers also found that the more time their participants spent on the app, the better their relationships with their friends and families.
“There’s lots of debate about whether spending time on social media is bad for our well-being but we’ve found it might not be as bad as we think,”
It seems that using WhatsApp to connect with our close friends is favourable for aspects of our well-being.”
Research co-author Dr Linda Kaye via The Star
The findings suggests that social media apps such as WhatsApp could actually be stimulating existing relationships and increasing opportunities for communication. Thus, enhancing usersâ€™ well-being and health…at least socially, anyway.