Facebook Users Live Longer Because the Brain Thinks They're Real Friends

By Gary Cutlack on at

A survey looking at the medical effects of having lots of friends has reaffirmed that this is generally a good thing that helps people live longer, and the effect also works even if most of your "friends" are virtual ones on a list on a computer that you haven't actually seen in real life for a decade.

The latest reason to be on the internet all the time comes from a study into the positive effects of socialising that took into account data fromĀ 12 million Facebook users; and said that the chances of lowering the risk of mortality was strongest in people with the best social ties.

Although it has to be used right. Amassing loads of friends for the sake of it by liking brands and needy idiots won't help -- relationships need to be maintained, so it requires actually, you know, pretending to be interested in the banal piece of regurgitated viral rubbish that a person has linked to, even though you saw it a fortnight ago and didn't even laugh at it then.

Lead author William Hobbes explained that it can't replace real world socialising either, pointing out that: "Interacting online seems to be healthy when the online activity is moderate and complements interactions offline. It is only on the extreme end, spending a lot of time online with little evidence of being connected to people otherwise, that we see a negative association." [Medical News]

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