Surely you've heard people tell you that you spend way too much time on Facebook. But before you decide to cut the habit of scrolling through your newsfeed, scientists have recently found out that building relationships on Facebook is actually quite healthy.
According to a study published in PNAS last Monday, having a hefty amount of Facebook friends could help you live longer.
However, that doesn't mean that you should spend the entire day lurking and adding random people in the hope of adding 10 more years to your lifespan. Sure, having more Facebook friends is good in terms of extending your life, but you need to interact with them IRL, too.
Similar to other studies saying that having an active social life can reap benefits for your health, this research aims to apply it to the digital age, where people connect through social media.
"Interacting online seems to be healthy when the online activity is moderate and complements interactions offline," according to lead researcher William Hobbs.
Scientists and researchers from the University of California San Diego in partnership with Yale and Facebook looked at the profiles and the vital records of 12 million Facebook users aged 27 to 71. They found that Facebook users have a 12 percent chance of living longer than non-Facebook users.
Apart from that, they also looked at the number of friends in an individual's account. The more friends a person has, the longer the person lived. Other factors they looked at included the number of times someone posts status updates, photos, and the total friend requests accepted. Similarly, the people who lived longer had a more active Facebook account, especially those who posted more photos—indicating a better social life.
Therefore, don't just rely on Facebook to boost your health. Go out and see the world with the friends you have on social media instead of just chatting with them on Messenger.