Although some parents and many of our readers would prefer to stay away from Facebook, researchers at Cornell have found that spending some time on Facebook may actually be therapeutic.
Who would've thought that spending some time with the awesomely popular online versions of ourselves with hundreds of friends, status updates with many likes, and flattering bathroom mirror pictures would boost self esteem?
The study was conducted by leaving 63 students alone in a computer lab at the university. Each student was put at their own computer which was either turned off, or turned on with the student's Facebook page open. In addition, some students were given computers that were turned off with a mirror against the screen.
After several minutes of browsing Facebook, staring at blank computer screens, or staring into mirrors, all of the students were given a questionnaire designed to measure their levels of self-esteem.
The researchers found that students who were on Facebook gave more positive feedback about themselves than the other students. In addition, the students who made some sort of change to their Facebook profile had the highest levels of self-esteem.
"Unlike a mirror, which reminds us of who we really are and may have a negative effect on self-esteem if that image does match with our ideal, Facebook can show a positive version of ourselves," explained associate professor Jeffrey Hancock. "We're not saying that it's a deceptive version of self, but it's a positive one."
Like many studies of its kind, Cornell's study has its set of limitations. For instance, the sample group is far too small and there is no control group that is given a computer that is on without Facebook. We're pretty sure that staring at a blank computer screen for several minutes could make anybody's world a bit more dull.
Until a larger and more conclusive study is conducted, we'll just let you decide whether or not you need Facebook to feel better about yourselves.