Social media can help you stay connected with your family and friends. However, if you spent too much time on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media sites, could make you feel more lonely, according to a new study.
In the study, psychologists at the University of Pittsburgh found that the more time people spend on social media, the more likely they’re going to feel socially isolated.
“Exposure to highly idealized representations of peers on social media elicits feelings of envy and the distorted belief that others lead happier, more successful lives. Engaging in activities of little meaning on social media may give a feeling of “time wasted” that negatively influences mood. Social media use could be fueling “Internet addiction,” a proposed psychiatric condition closely associated with depression. Spending more time on social media may increase the risk of exposure to cyberbullying or other similar negative interactions, which can cause feelings of depression.”
But the senior author of the study, Dr. Elizabeth Miller, isn’t sure which triggered first the increased loneliness or envy – the use of social media or the perceived social isolation. It could be that they felt socially isolated, so they use social media. Or it could also be that the use of social media led to a feeling of isolation from the real world. The author also suggested that it could be a combination of these two factors. Then again, she said that, even if the social isolation triggered the loneliness, the use of social media did not help.
The participants who utilized social media more than two hours a day were likely to perceive social isolation than those who spent less than 60 minutes on any social media platforms every day.
It’s an important study, indeed, because mental health problems are widespread among young adults. Social isolation is also at epidemic levels among this group of people.
The authors of the study also said that even though humans are social creatures, the modern life divides us, rather than unifying us. It’s true that social media offers a way for these people to fill social void. However, the study suggests that it’s not the solution that they were hoping for.
The study also found that social media use displaced authentic social experiences because people are no longer or spending less time interacting with the real world.
In fact, in a previous study, it was suggested that too much lurking on Facebook could make users more miserable than they already are.
However, it’s not surprising. It’s pretty clear that spending time on social media isn’t the same as interacting in the real world for social activity.
You can always have meaningful interactions on social media, like Facebook and Instagram. But those who use social media regularly know that these services will only promote hollow-feeling and an endless session of clicking.
Facebook effects, for example, will still depend on how you use the platform. But it’s time for us to stop being surprised that some people who are lonely tend to spend hours of their time on social media to fill the void.