Limiting social media use can alleviate the feeling of loneliness and depression

Facebook is really giving us FOMO study finds getty

Few prior studies have attempted to show that social-media use harms users' well-being.

"It was striking", Melissa Hunt, psychology professor at University of Pennsylvania who led the study, told MarketWatch.

A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found a causal link between time spent on social media and loneliness or depression.

However, it should be noted that, first, the study was conducted with a rather small sample, and, secondly, researchers evaluated the use of social networks, only according from a smartphone (measured consumption of battery power in the relevant annexes), use of social networks on the computer, they had to trust the participants themselves.

According to Business Insider, this study is different from the earlier ones, as it has shown a cause-and-effect relationship between social media use and mental health, whereas all the earlier studies done indicated a direct relationship between the two.

How much time do you spend on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or any other type of social network?

'This can be particularly true for those who only use Facebook for professional purposes, wanting to have their work displayed to as many as people as possible, including those they might not wish to be friends with'.

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Researchers at the university designed the study that focused on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, the three most popular social media platforms in the U.S.

Their study was based on a sample of 196 Facebook users, with an average age of 31, who completed an online survey consisting of a range of psychometric tools to assess their mental capabilities and behavioural style.

But, they had a choice of limiting their usage or to continue using the apps as they generally did. After three weeks, they were tested again for outcomes such as fear of missing out, anxiety, depression and loneliness.

However, Hunt said the findings do not suggest that 18- to 22-year-olds should stop using social media altogether.

Because this particular work only looked at Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, it's not clear whether it applies broadly to other social-media platforms.

The authors wrote: "It is ironic, but perhaps not surprising, that reducing social media, which promised to help us connect with others, actually helps people feel less lonely and depressed".

The 30-minute limit was chosen as a conveniently measurable one, but the team does not intend to say that it is by any means the "correct" amount.

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