Reducing the time spent on social networks has direct effects on depression. At least, that is the conclusion they have reached in a study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania. The researchers, who focused their study on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, discovered that a limited exposure to these networks managed to reduce depression and the feeling of loneliness in the study subjects.
“The study claims to have shown that the abusive use of social networks has a negative effect on mental health.”
The study is titled “No More FOLO: Limiting Social Media Decreases Loneliness and Depression,” (which could be translated as “No more fear of being left out: Reducing the use of social networks reduces loneliness and depression”) and was carried out during three weeks taking into account the reactions of 143 students.
The methodology used was to divide the subjects into two groups. One of them continued to use social networks on a regular basis and the other reduced their use of each social network to 10 minutes a day. To control the subjects, they sent a screenshot of their battery use to the researchers, which showed the minutes used in each app.
The research team discovered that the group that saw limited use of social networks reduced depressive symptoms. One of the students stated that part of the improvement came from the fact that he did not compare his life constantly with that of the people around him, which gave rise to better thoughts about himself.
The team that has carried out the study claims to be the first to prove that there is a causal link between reducing the use of social networks and improving mental health, although the truth is that there are numerous such reports. They do not seem to have discovered anything new … nor that social networks really reduce the feeling of loneliness when they are no longer used.