How Does Social Media Decrease Well-Being?

Facebook is really giving us FOMO study finds getty

According to those who conducted the research, users could have used social media more than the allotted time on their desktops- times which would not have been accounted for in the study. As per the study, students who limited the use of either Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to ten minutes per platform, per day showed a "significant" decrease in anxiety as well as the fear of missing out.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that limiting time on social media lead to a reduction in feelings of loneliness and depression.

They were then divided in to two groups: one that carried on as before, and the other that were limited to 10 minutes a day on each of Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

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.

"We set out to do a much more comprehensive, rigorous study that was also more ecologically valid", said Melissa Hunt, lead author of the study and associate director of clinical training in the Psychology Department of the University of Pennsylvania.

Researchers found that those who for three weeks has reduced the use of social networking, began to feel less alone, regardless of the initial level. The new way of keeping in touch with friends is by sharing updates on Facebook, posting Stories on Snapchat and Instagram and speaking about your views on Twitter.

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

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

The study, co-authored by 2018 College graduates Rachel Marx and Courtney Lipson, as well as College senior Jordyn Young, monitored the social media usage of 143 undergraduate Penn students over a four-week span.

After tracking each participant's normal use of all three sites for a week, the team observed that, for the most part, those struggling with greater mental "distress" did not typically spend more time on social media.

However, Hunt said the findings do not suggest that 18- to 22-year-olds should stop using social media altogether. "But prior research strongly suggests that negative social comparison - my life is worse than other people's lives - and feeling left out of activities and experiences shared by others probably explains a lot of it".

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