Time Spent on Social Media Linked to Mental Health Issues

Grant Boone
November 15, 2018

"I feel overall that social media is less important and I value it less than I did prior to the study".

"We set out to do a much more comprehensive, rigorous study that was also more ecologically valid", said psychologist Dr. Melissa G. Hunt, associate director of clinical training in Penn's Psychology Department.

'The results from our experiment strongly suggest that limiting social media usage does have a direct and positive impact on subjective well-being over time, especially with respect to decreasing loneliness and depression, ' explained the researchers from the University of Pennsylvania.

However, it should be noted that, first, the study was conducted with a rather small sample, and, secondly, researchers evaluated the use of social networks, only according from a smartphone (measured consumption of battery power in the relevant annexes), use of social networks on the computer, they had to trust the participants themselves.

After three weeks of evaluation for the fall and spring semesters, the conclusion said what a lot Americans have already suspected; less social media leads to better mental health.

Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram may be hazardous to your mental health. The students were either put into a group that was instructed to limit their social media usage on social media sites including Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram to 30 minutes per day, with 10 minutes for each platform; or were assigned to a control group where they were allowed to carry on with their routine social media habits.

The participants completed a survey on their mood and well-being at the start of the study.

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As a result, researchers found that the group of limited social media use showed significant reductions in loneliness and depression over three weeks compared to the control group.

But, they had a choice of limiting their usage or to continue using the apps as they generally did.

This isn't the first study to show that social media use and loneliness or depression are correlated, but this is the first one that says there is an actual causal link.

There's more on social media use and depression risk at RAND Corp.

"When you look at other people's lives, particularly on Instagram, it's easy to conclude that everyone else's life is cooler or better than yours", she explained.

"We recognize that social media is an integral part of our daily lives, and it's unreasonable to have them stop using it completely", Young said.

For one, reduce opportunities for social comparison, she says.

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