The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.
Young people are using social media more, and their mental health is suffering.
Researchers at Iowa State University found a simple intervention could help. During a two-week experiment with 230 college students, half were asked to limit their social media usage to 30 minutes a day and received automated, daily reminders. They scored significantly lower for anxiety, depression, loneliness, and fear of missing out at the end of the experiment compared to the control group.
They also scored higher for “positive affect,” which the researchers describe as “the tendency to experience positive emotions described with words such as ‘excited’ and ‘proud.'” Essentially, they had a brighter outlook on life.
“It surprised me to find that participants’ well-being did not only improve in one dimension but in all of them. I was excited to learn that such a simple intervention of sending a daily reminder can motivate people to change their behavior and improve their social media habits,” says Ella Faulhaber, a Ph.D. student in human-computer interaction and lead author of the paper.
Many of the participants in the ISU study commented that the first few days of cutting back were challenging. But after the initial push, one said they felt more productive and in tune with their lives. Others shared that they were getting better sleep or spending more time with people in person.