As of August 2017, the social media giant, Facebook, has more than 2 billion users. On average, active users spend at least 20 minutes on the site every day, but the time can be much longer for some. This begs the question: if people are spending so much time on the site, what benefits could they be possibly reaping? Are there any negative effects? Well, apart from the time you lose as you hop from post to post in your news feed, research results are out there, and they show that Facebook might impact your mental health negatively.

Facebook can cause depression

A study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology showed that the use of Facebook came with increased signs of depression. The mechanism behind the depressed moods was found to be the “Social Comparisons that come with Facebook Usage. People often compare their lives with what they see their friends posting on Facebook. But there is a problem. These comparisons are not made fairly.

When you compare your life with your friends’, you stack yourself against the good things people post. The problem is that you are not looking at the whole picture and the truth is that they might actually be worse than you. People only compare their lows with their friends’ highs which does not do justice to the mental perceptions of themselves.

Depression due to unaccomplished goals

Facebook can also be depressing in that it leads to wasted time. When you set goals and fail to meet them, you feel bad about yourself, like some sort of loser. Achievements lead to a surge of reward chemicals in the brain which can bring about a sense of well-being. But with people spending hours on the social networking site, it becomes easier to fall into moments of self-condemnation and feelings of inadequacy.

Should You Quit Altogether?

You do have to force yourself to quit. Indeed, Facebook is a great tool. It can keep you in touch with your family and friends. The key is to moderate your usage. But for starters, try to go off the site and see how much more time you will have to do more meaningful things, and how much better you will feel.