Cut­ting down so­cial me­dia re­duces de­pres­sion

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Front Page -

New re­search in the US has found that re­duc­ing time spent on so­cial me­dia plat­forms such as Face­book, Snapchat, and In­sta­gram may help im­prove well-be­ing. Car­ried out by re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia, the new study re­cruited 143 stu­dents at the univer­sity and asked them to com­plete ex­per­i­ments de­signed around Face­book, Snapchat, and In­sta­gram, the three so­cial me­dia sites most pop­u­lar with un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dents. Each par­tic­i­pant was asked to com­plete a sur­vey to as­sess their mood and well-be­ing at the start of the study and were mon­i­tored over a pe­riod of one week to as­sess their usual level of so­cial me­dia use. They were then ran­domly split into two groups, with the con­trol group asked to main­tain their nor­mal level of so­cial me­dia use, while par­tic­i­pants in the other group were asked to limit their time on Face­book, Snapchat, and In­sta­gram to 10 min­utes per plat­form per day. The find­ings, pub­lished in the Jour­nal of So­cial and

Clin­i­cal Psy­chol­ogy, showed that the par­tic­i­pants who lim­ited their use on the three sites showed sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tions in lone­li­ness and de­pres­sion over three weeks com­pared to the con­trol group. In ad­di­tion, both groups showed sig­nif­i­cant de­creases in anx­i­ety and fear of miss­ing out, which the re­searchers say could be due to the par­tic­i­pants’ in­creased level of self-mon­i­tor­ing. “Here’s the bot­tom line,” says co-au­thor Melissa G. Hunt, “Us­ing less so­cial me­dia than you nor­mally would leads to sig­nif­i­cant de­creases in both de­pres­sion and lone­li­ness. These ef­fects are par­tic­u­larly pro­nounced for folks who were more de­pressed when they came into the study.” “It is a lit­tle ironic that re­duc­ing your use of so­cial me- dia ac­tu­ally makes you feel less lonely,” she says, but ex­plains that the find­ings do make sense. “Some of the ex­ist­ing lit­er­a­ture on so­cial me­dia sug­gests there’s an enor­mous amount of so­cial com­par­i­son that hap­pens. 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.” Hunt noted that the find­ings do not mean that 18 to 22 year-olds should stop us­ing so­cial me­dia al­to­gether, which she be­lieves is an un­re­al­is­tic goal. How­ever, she says lim­it­ing screen time could be ben­e­fi­cial, although the study did not de­ter­mine what this limit should be. “When you’re not busy get­ting sucked into click­bait so­cial me­dia, you’re ac­tu­ally spend­ing more time on things that are more likely to make you feel bet­ter about your life,” says Hunt. “In gen­eral, I would say, put your phone down and be with the peo­ple in your life.” – Re­laxnews

Re­duc­ing time spent on so­cial me­dia could im­prove well-be­ing for young adults, ac­cord­ing to new re­search. – iS­tock photo

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