Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Erika Owen
October 31, 2016

Spending all of that time scrolling through your Facebook feed could actually help you live longer.

A study of 12 million Facebook users, led by researchers William Hobbs and James Fowler at the University of California, San Diego, found that extended time spent on Facebook could attribute to extended life, when the platform is used to “maintain and enhance your real-world social ties.”

According to a news release on the study, the team measured the correlation by matching California Facebook users with their records from the California Department of Public Health. Each account was monitored for online activity for six months. Each participant was born between the years of 1945 and 1989, and all comparisons happened between Facebook users of the same gender and similar ages.

The study found a few interesting points: People who are on Facebook live longer than those who are not. More specifically, a Facebook user is 12 percent less likely to die than someone who doesn't have an account. Facebook users in the top 30 to 50 percent (in terms of network size) also lived longer than those in the lowest 10 percent.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study's findings mirror something researchers already knew: People with stronger social networks celebrate more birthdays.

According to the study, this is the first time the same sentiment is being replicated in the digital world.

“Interacting online seems to be healthy when the online activity is moderate and complements interactions offline,” said Hobbs. “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.”

So having lots of Facebook friends could mean you'll live longer, but you'll have to actually show up at those Facebook events you say you'll attend.

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