Limiting the use of social media per day leads to reductions in loneliness and depression, a study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania shows. As per the study, students who limited the use of either Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to ten minutes per platform, per day showed a “significant” decrease in anxiety as well as the fear of missing out.
The study, titled “No More FOMO: Limiting Social Media Decreases Loneliness and Depression,” claims to be the first to have found a direct correlation between the use of social media and its impact over time, especially with respect to loneliness and depression. “That is, ours is the first study to establish a clear causal link between decreasing social media use, and improvements in loneliness and depression,” the research reads.
As part of the experiment, the researchers monitored the use of social media among 143 undergraduates at the University of Pennsylvania. The students were divided into two groups – one which accessed Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat in a limited manner and the other which used the social media as usual – for three weeks.
At the end of the study, the limited group was clearly benefitted from self-monitoring. The study shows that limiting the use of social media to approximately 30 minutes per day “may lead to a significant improvement in well-being” and reductions in loneliness and depression.
However, the research, like any other, has its own limitations. The study notes that while researchers were able to monitor the use of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat on mobile phones of the students, they could still use the platforms on their desktop (except for Snapchat) or on phones of their friends, which could not be monitored.
Plus, social media consists of a whole lot of other platforms as well like Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook Messenger etc, which were not taken into account. “Indeed, some subjects noted that they spent a lot more time on dating apps, perhaps as the result of limiting other platforms,” it pointed out.