Using social media makes people more lonely: study

November 9, 2018

Photo: AFP

Spending more time on social media can have a lasting impact on your well-being.

A University of Pennsylvania psychologist found out that people active on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram are more likely to develop depression.

This is not the first time people have linked overuse of social media to depression, however, it is the first time a causal relationship has been established

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Few prior studies have attempted to show that using social media harms users’ well-being, and those that have either put participants in unrealistic situations or were limited in scope, asking them to completely forego Facebook and relying on self-reported data or conducting the work in a lab in as little as an hour, according to the University of Pennsylvania.

“We set out to do a much more comprehensive, rigorous study that was also more ecologically valid,” says Melissa G Hunt, associate director of clinical training at the varsity’s psychology department.

The study finds that reducing the use of social media actually makes us less lonely since that means we’re spending less time comparing our lives to others.

Hunt put a lot of emphasis on how completely restricting social media use for people between the ages of 18 and 22 is not the solution. She admits the study doesn’t really present a solution to the problem, however, it does come to two conclusions: reduce opportunities for social comparison and spend more time with the people around you.