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STUDY: Social Media Use Harmful, Causes Depression, Loneliness

November 9, 2018

A University of Pennsylvania study claims to have found a “causal link” between “time spent on social media and increased depression and loneliness,” Science Daily reports.

The study examined the behaviors and moods of 143 participants, all undergraduates, and focused on three social media platforms, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook.

Science Daily quotes researcher Melissa G. Hunt, a clinical psychologist at Penn:  “Here’s the bottom line. Using less social media than you normally would leads to significant decreases in both depression and loneliness. These effects are particularly pronounced for folks who were more depressed when they came into the study.”

One source of depression from social media use, Hunt suggests, has to do with comparing oneself to others.

‘”It is a little ironic that reducing your use of social media actually makes you feel less lonely,”‘ she says in Science Daily’s report. ‘”Some of the existing literature on social media suggests there’s an enormous amount of social comparison that happens. When you look at other people’s lives, particularly on Instagram, it’s easy to conclude that everyone else’s life is cooler or better than yours.”‘

“In general, I would say, put your phone down and be with the people in your life,” Hunt told Science Daily

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