Social media studies show its use and depression go hand in hand
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania believe they have found evidence of a link between depression and social media use. Many studies have attempted to show that using social media can be detrimental to your mental health, but the parameters of these studies are often limited in scope or were unrealistic situations. The UPenn study collected usage data tracked by phone rather than relying on self-reporting.
Psychologist Melissa G. Hunt, the author of the published study, says the bottom line is: “Using less social media than usual would lead to a significant decrease in depression and loneliness. These effects are particularly pronounced for people who were more depressed when they participated in the study.
It should be noted that the study participants were college students who were randomly assigned either to use social media as they normally would or to be part of the experimental group that limited time on the three most popular platforms. popular, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. Hunt doesn’t think it’s realistic not to use social media at all, but it’s important to find a way to manage your use to avoid negative effects.
Depression is a serious problem for Americans, but is social media to blame?
the The CDC reported that between 2013 and 2016, 8.1% of Americans over the age of 20 experienced depression over a 2-week period. About 80% of these people had difficulty in their daily activities due to depression. However, “over a 10-year period, from 2007-2008 to 2015-2016, the percentage of adults with depression did not change significantly.” On the other hand, the use of social networks has increased exponentially during this period.
There have been other studies linking social media use to depression. It could be that the more the number of accessible platforms increases the risk of depression. Another one to study found that it was how people used social media that increased depression. Using it to compare yourself to others or feeling addicted to social media increased feelings of depression.
But it’s unclear whether depression or social media use came first. Studies disagree on whether it exacerbates existing problems or creates them.
How to approach the use of social networks?
Another report suggests that Facebook knew from the start that it was creating addictions. Those closest to technology believe there are inherent risks for their children in being on social media. Scary? It should get you thinking about how and why you use technology.
If you experience negative feelings after using social media, consider limiting the time you spend on these platforms. Go out and connect with others. Relationships can often reduce the risk of depression. Get involved in your community. It’s important to find a balance in using social media and connecting with others. Spend time on what makes you feel better about your life.
There are still many questions about how social media and technologies affect society. In the meantime, be careful how you use these sites and be careful not to fall into the comparison trap.
If you are depressed and lonely, there is help available, and we ask that you take this difficult step and reach out – call the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) helpline at 800-950-6264 or text NAMI at 741741. You can also visit their website to find your local Nami.