Spending too long on Facebook increases rates of depression

Experts have long theorised that a causal connection existed between the two but this has never been proven conclusively claim researchers

The researchers found through the results that the feelings of depression, anxiety and loneliness were less present in the group where the use of networks was limited. During the course of the study, the subjects were divided into a control group (with no limitations on social media use) and a study group where time spent on Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram was limited to 10 minutes per platform per day.

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

"Here's the bottom line". They showed that for a long time in social media leads to depression and loneliness.

Facebook, and social media generally, have been touted as being, well, social, connecting users with their friends and with other users with whom they might find common interests.

"There have been suggestions of links between narcissism and the use of visual postings on social media, such as Facebook, but, until this study, it was not known if narcissists use this form of social media more, or whether using such platforms is associated with the subsequent growth in narcissism", said Phil Reed from Swansea University, who led the study.

A paper describing the full study is published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.

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The team enlisted the help of 143 undergraduate students who completed a survey regarding their mental well-being and who had to submit screenshots of their iPhones' batteries for three weeks. She knows that is an unrealistic goal. However, she says limiting screen time could be beneficial, although the study did not determine what this limit should be.

"That the predominant usage of social media for the participants was visual, mainly through Facebook, suggests the growth of this personality problem could be seen increasingly more often, unless we recognise the dangers in this form of communication", Reed 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", Hunt concluded. The more narcissistic they were to begin with, the more verbal postings they made later. Dr. Hunt also hesitates to say that these findings will be repeated for other age groups or in different settings.

Because these tools are here to stay, it's incumbent on society to figure out how to use them in a way that limits damaging effects, Dr Hunt said.

"When you're not busy getting sucked into clickbait social media, you're actually spending more time on things that are more likely to make you feel better about your life", she explained in a statement.

"In general, I would say, put your phone down and be with the people in your life", Hunt told Science Daily.

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