Social media usage may boost loneliness, not banish It

Mark Zuckerberg chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc. attends the Viva Tech start-up and technology gathering at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles

One group could use Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat for only 10 minutes each per day (for a total of 30 minutes spent on social media daily); the other group was free to use the platforms as much as they wanted. The new way of keeping in touch with friends is by sharing updates on Facebook, posting Stories on Snapchat and Instagram and speaking about your views on Twitter. Studies conducted in past indicates a relationship between excessive use of social media and depression and the feeling of loneliness.

The results suggested that restricting social media use had a "significant" and beneficial impact by reducing depressive symptoms, especially among those who had been moderately or highly depressed.

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

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

"These effects are particularly pronounced for folks who were more depressed when they came into the study", according to Hunt.

Their study was based on a sample of 196 Facebook users, with an average age of 31, who completed an online survey consisting of a range of psychometric tools to assess their mental capabilities and behavioural style.

But, they had a choice of limiting their usage or to continue using the apps as they generally did.

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Cutting your social media time to around 30 minutes a day could reduce loneliness and depression, according to a study published last week in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. The study was conducted on 143 students and it went on for a period of three weeks.

After three weeks, the researchers evaluated the participants across seven measures, among them being loneliness, depression, anxiety, and FOMO.

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

No previous studies had gone beyond establishing an association or correlation between social media usage and well-being.

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

"We recognize that social media is an integral part of our daily lives, and it's unreasonable to have them stop using it completely", 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".

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