A new study has said there is no proof that supports common belief that social media decrease face-to-face interactions.
Researchers at the University of Missouri and the University of Kansas found that social media doesn’t negatively impact face-to-face interactions or a person’s social well-being. Scientists point that it is commonly believed that social media platforms are responsible for a decreased level of face-to-face social interactions. However, the results of the study suggest that social media doesn’t have a strong impact on future social interactions.
Scientists at the two universities set up two studies, one long-term and one short-term, to test the theory. The first study, which followed the social media use of individuals from 2009 to 2011, found that change in social media use was not associated with changes in direct social contact. In addition, the participants’ feelings of social well-being actually increased.
The second study, which surveyed adults and college students through text-messaging over the course of five days, found that social media use earlier in the day did not have any impact on future social interactions. However, the researchers also found that passive social media use led to lower levels of well-being if that person had been alone earlier in the day.
The aspect of time may be an important element to consider when it comes to studying the effects of social media, the researchers found. For example, Kearney says that while time spent using social media sites like Facebook doesn’t take away from other social interactions, it is likely that using any type of media borrows time that could be used for face-to-face interactions.