STATES CHRONICLE – Young adults who spend too much time on social media may impair their mental health, feeling lonely or depressed, not being social after all. Specialists indicate that heavy use of social media sites like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook was related to feelings of social isolation. A new study was developed to reveal the effects of social media on people.
Brian Primack, the co-author of the survey, indicated that social media do not help people become more social in real life. He is the director of the Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health at the University of Pittsburgh. The results of this new research appeared to be counterintuitive when looking back at other studies which connected depression with social media use.
As we know, face-to-face communication is a sign of well-being. Nevertheless, specialists indicate that it is not clear what happens when such interactions occur virtually. Primack together with his team of scientists decided to develop a survey in which they analyzed 1,787 US adults with ages between 19 and 32, asking them about the frequency of use regarding eleven different social media platforms.
The new survey also tried to determine social isolation. Thus, participants were asked whether they sometimes got the feeling that they were left out. It appears that those who reported that they spent more than two hours per day on social media sites, indicated to have twice the odds of perceived social isolation compared to those who argued they spent half an hour using social media platforms.
People who were used to visit social media sites more than 58 times per week had more than three times more chances of experiencing perceived social isolation compared to those who visited those platforms less than nine times per week. The new study was published on March 6th in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Nevertheless, this new study is not able to narrow down causation. Primack claimed that, usually, when people feel lonely of isolated from the society, they tend to go online to try and feel less lonely. However, for some, spending too much time on social media platforms makes them feel isolated. Primack argued that people may watch all sorts of interactions on platforms like Facebook where others may seem like they are connecting. This could be frustrating for some.
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