Limiting social media to 10 minutes a day can improve mental health

Alicia Farmer
November 15, 2018

It's always been talked about that social media increases depression and anxiety, but the first causal study in an effort to prove this theory was released by the University of Pennsylvania.

But the University of Pennsylvania's study notes that most prior research on social media and well-being "has been correlational in nature", and the few experimental studies that have been done only looked at Facebook.

Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study among students who are active users of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

The study says that there is a direct link between an increase in social media use and the user's emotional state.

The results of studies that were conducted over three weeks among 143 students, writes the Chronicle.info with reference to UNIAN.

3 weeks later the students were inquired for judging their mental status throughout the seven categories which included-autonomy and self-acceptance, self-esteem, depression, anxiety, social support, fear of missing out (FOMO) and loneliness.

"Here's the bottom line, using less social media than you normally would leads to significant decreases in both depression and loneliness".

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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. "As opposed to just saying 'if you use less [social media], you are more likelyto be less depressed and less lonely'". Hunt also noted that choosing to limit social media usage time rather than having the subjects to stop using it altogether was more realistic.

Participants were randomly assigned to a control group, which had users maintain their typical social-media behavior, or an experimental group that limited time on Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram to 10 minutes per platform per day.

At the end of the study, the limited group was clearly benefitted from self-monitoring.

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"Some of the existing literature on social media suggests there's an enormous amount of social comparison that happens".

"Using social media less can't hurt", Young said.

"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. "It goes with the idea all things in moderation".

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