Could it be Facebook makes you sad?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Facebook skaters
Using Facebook too much can make you sad.

A lot of people get excited about summer break because it means more chances to hang out with friends, but let’s face it, some summer days are a real bore. You stay at home on the couch, lazily flip through the TV channels and look for something funny. If there is nothing, you turn to Facebook to see what your friends are up to, and boy, does it seem like everyone is up to a lot… except you, who has been stuck at home all day. Well, according to the University of Michigan, this train of thought can make you sad.

Ethan Kross, the professor who led the study, kept track of the moods of 82 active Facebook users over the course of 2 weeks. He analyzed how often they visited the site and how they felt as they scrolled through their news feeds. The results were no laughing matter. “Everyday Facebook use leads to declines in [a person’s] well-being,” said Kross. “Both how happy you feel moment to moment, and how satisfied you feel with your life.”

That’s an interesting statement to make, especially because I find myself laughing at many posts. Why do active Facebook users tend to be more sad? Well, according to Kross, it’s because when you see everyone else having a good time when you’re bored, you feel like you have a lame life. He calls it the “Facebook Effect.”

“People feel left out,” said Dr. Sudeepta Varma, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at New York University. “There is this imagination or fantasy that other people’s lives are better. Facebook keeps people in the know about what other people are doing,” she says, “but also about what they themselves are not doing.”

Come on, he only looked at 82 Facebook users; billions of people go on the social networking site every day! He could have easily picked a bunch of Eeyore’s for his study, right? Actually, schools including Western Illinois University, Utah Valley University, Gothenburg University in Sweden, and others have discovered this same effect.

Next time you’re bored at home, it may be a better idea to stay off Facebook, or your boredom will turn to sadness.

Featured image courtesy of Paul Walsh on Flickr. Smartphone skaters image courtesy Davity Dave on Flickr.