Study finds decreased social media use improves mood and wellbeing

Depression? Loneliness? Limit your social media use, study says

Hunt admitted that the study only looked at three major social media platforms and that the results may vary if applied to different age groups.

One hundred and forty-three students from the school were monitored for three weeks after being assigned to either limit their social media use to about 10 minutes per app (Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram) per day or continue using it as they normally would.

'In sum, our research and other academic literature suggests that it's about how you use social media that matters when it comes to your well-being, ' wrote David Ginsberg and Moira Burke, Facebook's director of research and research scientist respectively, last year. The researchers only identified two other experimental studies, both of which only addressed Facebook use.

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.

Few prior studies have attempted to show that social-media use harms users' well-being.

"The main finding of the paper is that limiting your use of Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram to 30 minutes total or less per day results in reductions in depression and loneliness, especially for people who were moderately depressed to start with", Hunt said. An Oregon Health & Science University Study found that military veterans were said to experience mental health issues 50 percent less if they spent more time around loved ones over those who socialized mostly online. Social media usage was monitored via the iOS battery use screen, which shows app use.

Researchers, however are optimistic about the future of the study as it is the first of it's kind and say that a lot more can be revealed after a longer duration of testing.

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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.

"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.

Most of us can't think of going a day without social media.

"However, it is important to note that all social media use is not the same", said Primack.

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

For one, reduce opportunities for social comparison, she says.

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