Generations ago, the term social media would have been unrecognizable. Now, an existence without it is unfathomable. It’s our social connection, our news source, our entertainment, our bulletin board to announce to everyone, “Look world! I’m living my best life!”
But how exactly does social media affect us?
Going as far back to 2015, a study in the U.K. found that kids were twice as likely to report feeling mentally unhealthy when they used social media sites for at least three hours on school days.
Jumping ahead to 2018, a direct link was found between less social media use and improved mood (less depression and loneliness).
In 2021, 1,500 Americans were surveyed and a whopping 86% of them said that their happiness and self-image were negatively impacted by social media.
More recently, a multi-country survey was conducted in 2022, and what was found was counterintuitive yet not surprising: Those who turned to social media for entertainment and to feel less lonely during the pandemic actually wound up feeling worse mentally.
The correlation between social media use and negative feelings is strong. But to confirm it from the other perspective, in 2021 a pilot study was conducted that showed many college age students saw an immediate improvement in mood, anxiety, and even sleep once they took a social media break.
There are numerous ways social media is used, but rarely does it actually get at the heart of what we’re searching for. Whether it’s for entertainment, relaxation, or distraction, social media claims to have the answer. Clearly, that’s not the case.
Have you ever considered taking a social media break? If it is negatively impacting your mood, it may be worth a try.
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