Cutting back on Facebook or Snapchat could have a positive impact on your mood, according to a new study.
There has been other research about the impact of social media on mental health well being, but this study claims to be the first to find a direct causal link.
After completion of the experiment, the psychologists prepared a special questionnaire for students with seven indicators: social support, fear to fall out of the environment, loneliness, anxiety, depression, self-esteem and self-acceptance.
A study involving 143 students showed that reducing time of use of social networking to 30 minutes a day reduces the feeling of loneliness and symptoms of depression.
The study's authors acknowledge its limitations, including the fact that it only monitored social media usage on cell phones, its participants were all young college students and it was relatively short in duration.
Young said the Penn study was unique due to its more conclusive relationship between social media and negative effects. "As opposed to just saying 'if you use less [social media], you are more likelyto be less depressed and less lonely'".
Despite those caveats, and although the study didn't determine the optimal time users should spend on these platforms or the best way to use them, Hunt says the findings do offer two related conclusions it couldn't hurt any social-media user to follow.
Few prior studies have attempted to show that social media use harms users' well-being, and even those that did explore the issue were limited in scope or based on unrealistic situations.
At the end of the study, the limited group was clearly benefitted from self-monitoring. The students were put into two groups, where one group was allowed to continue on with their social media habits and the other one was told to limit the social media access to thirty minutes per day while giving ten minutes to each platform-Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
"Some of the existing literature on social media suggests there's an enormous amount of social comparison that happens".
"However, it is important to note that all social media use is not the same", said Primack.
"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.
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