Excessive use of social media leads to depression and loneliness: Research

Limiting the use of Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram can directly help in reducing depression and loneliness. A new US research has revealed that cutting down on the time spent on social media platforms can help in improving the well-being of internet users.

The research went into studying 143 university students for three weeks. These students were split into two groups: one continued to use social media as they liked. While the other group was allowed to use social media for only 10 minutes per day. Students were asked to share the smartphone’s battery usage with researchers to track their usage of apps.

The paper titled, “No More FOMO: Limiting Social Media Decreases Loneliness and Depression” by Melissa G. Hunt, Rachel Marx, Courtney Lipson, and Jordyn Young describes the effect of social media usage on humans. Participants with limited usage showed significant reduction in loneliness and depression over three weeks. The study questions the effects of Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram on young adults.

Co-author of the study, Melissa Hunt said, “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.”

Social networking platforms claim to connect and maintain relationship with your dear ones. It is ironical that reducing the usage of social media as per the research is in fact going to make you less lonely. One of the reasons why people feel depressed it because they start comparing their life with the ones on social media and develop an inferiority complex in the process.

The study does not suggest that young adults should stop using social media. The researchers were keen to promote limiting screen time that can be beneficial for the overall health of young adults. In addition to this conclusion, both the groups showed significant decrease in anxiety and depression, which could be due to the increased level of self-monitoring.