Depressed? Lonely? Cut down on your social media use

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Cutting your social media use to 30 minutes a day can reduce feelings of loneliness and depression.

That’s the finding of a new study that, for the first time, identified a specific cause-and-effect relationship between social media usage and mental health issues.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania tested two groups of students. One was limited to 30 minutes of time per day on social media platforms (Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram), and the other with no restrictions on social media use.

After three weeks, both groups were assessed as to their mental health across areas that included social support, the fear of missing out (FOMO), loneliness, anxiety, depression, self-esteem and self-acceptance.

The results: Feelings of loneliness and depression decreased among those who limited their social media access.

The study concludes, “ours is the first study to establish a clear causal link between decreasing social media use, and improvements in loneliness and depression. It is ironic, but perhaps not surprising, that reducing social media, which promised to help us connect with others, actually helps people feel less lonely and depressed.”

You can read the full study here.

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