Is too much social media use linked to decline in mental health?

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Is too much social media use linked to decline in mental health?

Futurism reports, “As a new education and public policy study reveals, young adults across multiple personality types who begin using social media for five hours or more per day — which is a long time to be staring at a screen, but not atypical in our plugged-in world — are very likely to develop depression within six months of such elevated usage.

“At the heart of the findings, by researchers at the University of Arkansas, the University of Alabama, and Oregon State University, is the concept of “problematic social comparison.”

In layman’s terms, that’s the crappy feeling you get when you look at other people’s glamorous lives and feel like yours isn’t living up.

“Online, that phenomenon “can enhance negative feelings of oneself and others, which could explain how the risk of depression increases with increased social media use,” reads a University of Arkansas press release about the study.

“Engaging primarily in negative content can also enhance these feelings.” Social media usage also tends to isolate people, the study suggests, because it “reduces opportunities for in-person interactions and activities outside of the home.”

The Daily Briefing adds:

  • We get connected and feel dejected when we get on social media. A recent study found an enormous negative association in adolescents between heavy social media and life satisfaction. “Heavy users . . . of digital media were 48% to 171% more likely [than light users] to be unhappy, to be in low in well-being, or to have suicide risk factors such as depression, suicidal ideation, or past suicide attempts.”
  • But those feelings aren’t limited to adolescents. Another study divided a group of social media users, allowing one group to only spend 10 minutes a day on social media and the other group to have unlimited time. Researchers found that the limited-use group showed significant reductions in loneliness and depression over 3 weeks.
  • Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. In the Christian life, we make our way through this world with at least 3 options: reject, redeem, or receive. There are certain things we flatly reject (pornography, crunchy peanut butter, etc.), openly receive (the beach, college football, etc.), and seek to redeem (social media, movies, etc.). We work to redeem those things in the world in which there is a great benefit but also a potential detriment. Don’t miss the beautiful baby of social media while you are throwing out the dirty bathwater. (1 Cor. 10:31, James 1:17, 1 Pet. 5:8)

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2022. This blog provides healthcare tips and advice that you can trust about a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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