WHILE Facebook usage has been blamed for everything from shorter attention spans to increased stress and obesity, authors of a recently published study say that the social media site actually has a positive effect on psychological well-being.
Published in Behaviour & Information Technology and released this week, the study investigated the role Facebook plays in the lives of 800 students from seven universities in South Africa.
What researchers from the University of Cape Town found was that intense Facebook usage was linked with perceived bridging, bonding and maintaining of social capital or networks.
Social capital is defined as the “resources” or assets accumulated via the development of relationships, whether it be values, beliefs and attitudes or the level of their social life and the density of social engagement.
Bridging social capital is described as the link between acquaintances while bonding is used to describe close family and friend relationships.
Average Facebook usage among students is betweeen 10 and 30 minutes a day.
Rich social capital has been shown to be a forecaster of academic performance, children’s intellectual development, employment and the prevention of child delinquency.
Meanwhile, the jury is still out when it comes to the benefits and perils of Facebook. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh Business School, for example, found that the higher number of Facebook friends a person has, the greater the potential for stress.
Specifically, authors noted the risks associated with adding employers or family members who are now privy to details of a person’s private life. — AFP/Relaxnews
The STAR Online Education Sunday 03/03/2013