Is WhatsApp actually good for your health?

Weblog: UK research reveals greater sense of family connectivity among WhatsApp users

Unlike platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, WhatsApp seems to serve the purpose of upholding existing bonds with family and friends. Photograph: Dado Ruvic

Unlike platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, WhatsApp seems to serve the purpose of upholding existing bonds with family and friends. Photograph: Dado Ruvic

 

Scientists say WhatsApp can be good for your health. UK researchers gathered data from 200 users about how they use the messaging app and found that daily interactions on this platform correlated with feeling less lonely and reporting higher levels of self-esteem.

Unlike more public platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, WhatsApp seems to serve the purpose of upholding existing bonds with both family and friends. Study participants, however, skewed towards 79 per cent female with an average age of 24 so the data tells us something about online social lives of young women rather than society as a whole.

Time spent

“There’s lots of debate about whether spending time on social media is bad for our wellbeing but we’ve found it might not be as bad as we think,” said study co-lead Dr Linda Kaye, a senior lecturer in psychology at Edgehill University in the UK.

“The more time people spent on WhatsApp, the more this related to them feeling close to their friends and family and they perceived these relationships to be good quality. It gives rise to the notion that social technology such as WhatsApp may stimulate existing relationships and opportunities for communication, thereby enhancing aspects of the users’ positive wellbeing.”

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