Feeling Extra Anxious Or Depressed? Lower Your Social Media Time

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Social media is in an ever increasingly complicated relationship with mental health. From body image to self esteem, anxiety and depression to addiction, social media is proving to be less than helpful to maintaining good mental health. 65% of Americans interact with their social media platforms multiple times a day. Three of the most popular, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have high interaction counts where people with millions of followers post multiple times a day.

Increased Platforms and Depression

Scientists sought to discover if using more social media platforms more times a day would be worse for mental health. Almost 2,000 people between the ages of 19-32 were used for the study. Asked what social media platforms they used and evaluated for depression, the study found that the more platforms people interacted with and the more times per day they interacted made a significant difference. Those who used anywhere between seven to eleven social media platforms were three times as likely to be evaluated positively for depression and anxiety than those used no social media or up to two social media platforms. Curiously, the researchers also discovered that the millennials, those who fit the age range for the study, were unaware that they were using so many different platforms.

The study could not conclude causation, meaning that it did not prove that depression and anxiety was caused by using multiple platforms, nor could it prove that depression and anxiety inspired the use of multiple platforms. It does however emphasize the simple fact that too much social media is simply too much.

Staring into a screen for hours on end each day can be replaced with healthier activities which include human to human interaction. Scientists have done brain imaging scans and found that certain components of the social media experience function similarly in the brain to cocaine. Addiction to social media channels has been linked to poor self-esteem and even body image issues in women.

 

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