Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania psychologist Melissa G. Hunt says that their experimental research, which was published in the Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology, is the first to reveal the study of Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram use. The students were put into two groups, where one group was allowed to continue on with their social media habits and the other one was told to limit the social media access to thirty minutes per day while giving ten minutes to each platform-Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
The students were split into two groups: one that continued to use social media as normal and another that was limited to using each social service to 10 minutes per day.
Past research from a variety of experts have found that social media may increase feelings of depression and loneliness due to the amount of social comparison between users.
"Here's the bottom line, using less social media than you normally would leads to significant decreases in both depression and loneliness".
In terms of depression, the study notes that the biggest impact was felt among those who started out with higher levels of depression. Overall, these studies were not designed well as they would ask a participant to completely forego Facebook, rely on self-report data, or conduct the activities in a lab in as little time as an hour. They then collected objective usage data automatically tracked by iPhones for active apps, not those running the background.
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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. The volunteers also shared more screenshots of their iPhone battery screens.
The authors wrote: "It is ironic, but perhaps not surprising, that reducing social media, which promised to help us connect with others, actually helps people feel less lonely and depressed".
Three weeks later the students were questioned for assessing their mental health across seven areas, including fear of missing out (FOMO), social support, autonomy and self-acceptance, loneliness, anxiety, self-esteem, and depression.
However, Hunt said the findings do not suggest that 18- to 22-year-olds should stop using social media altogether. "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".