Social media held a fantastical promise: to connect the world. In many ways it has. Long lost friends can be continents apart yet find each other and stay updated on one another’s lives through social media. People come together on social media to create “trends” which highlight important political and social issues. Social media can help us to see what is going on in other parts of the world where we might not otherwise have access because of news blockages. Indeed, social media can be a great connector. It can also be a great isolator.
New research is putting another point toward the negative side of social media in an ongoing debate. Is it good for us or is it bad for us? 1,700 Americans between the ages of 19 to 32 were surveyed for the study published in the American Journal Of Preventive Medicine to examine their social media use and how isolated their social media use may or may not cause them to feel.
The study began in 2014 when the most popular social media sites included some of today’s most popular platforms like Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr and Pinterest. Researchers found that the amount of time spent on social media is directly correlated to their feelings of isolation.
- More than 2 hours of social media use per day = twice as likely isolation
- Checking social media 58 times or more a week = three times as likely isolation
Two hours of social media a day might seem like a lot. If you put together the amount of times you quickly check your notifications, do a brief scroll through your news feed, or compulsively interact with social media throughout the day, it probably adds up to two hours. Social media was designed to be something we spend a lot of time interacting with, because everyone’s lives would be updating in real time. Who would want to miss out? Unfortunately, experiencing feelings of isolation might mean that we feel we are missing out on a lot.
Reducing Your Social Media Use
- Only check your social media once a day for 30 minutes at a time
- Save a special time to upload or post to social media
- Be aware of your emotions when you use social media
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