OPED: Limiting social media to 10 minutes a day can improve mental health
Feeling lonely or depressed? Get off of social media to start your journey toward better mental health, particularly during the holiday season.
It’s long been talked about that social media increases depression and anxiety, but the first causal study in an effort to prove this theory was released by the University of Pennsylvania.
Researches divided 143 college students between the ages of 18 and 22 into two groups and asked one group to continue their regular usage of Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram while the other group limited their social media usage to just 10 minutes a day.
After three weeks of evaluation for the fall and spring semesters, the conclusion said what a lot Americans have already suspected; less social media leads to better mental health.
“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,” said psychologist Melissa Hunt, who conducted the study. “In general, I would say, put your phone down and be with the people in your life.”
The study only measured iPhone users and the majority of the subjects were female. Additionally, researchers only tracked some social media sites on cell phones excluding the possibility of subjects logging on to Facebook with their laptops. The study also excluded social media applications like Twitter, Pinterest, Tumbler and dating apps.
Even still, students who participated acknowledged that limiting their social media usage decreased feelings of depression, loneliness and their FOMO (fear of missing out).
“I was definitely more conscious that someone was monitoring my usage,” one participant reported. “I ended up using less and felt happier and like I could focus on school and not (be as) interested in what everyone is up to.”