New studies were published that come as a support for the dark side of social media. While such kind of platforms was intended to enable communities and friends set apart by long distances to maintain their quality relationship, it seems that science found their weaknesses as well. Scrolling down Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other such websites is not equivalent to real life social interactions. On the contrary, researchers found that those who spend more time alone end up describing themselves as isolated people.
The American Journal of Preventive Medicine has just published a research paper on behalf of the University of Pittsburg School of Medicine. The findings of the report reveal that frequent usage of social media does not help isolated people become more engaged with others. Whenever a person is sad because of a feeling that he or she does not belong in any group of friends, the online activity doesn’t have the capacity to substitute real life interactions.
The lead author of the study, Brian A. Primack, is the director of the Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health of the University of Pittsburg. He is of the opinion that such discoveries are important for the era we live in. Today’s young adults have to struggle with more mental health problems than ever before. The feeling of isolation is one of such modern issues that are fueled by the ubiquity of social media. By understanding the causes of their sufferings, the scientist believes that isolated people have higher chances to escape their anxiety.
The study gathered data from 1,787 US adults aged 19 to 32 back in 2014. They participated in a series of questionnaires that interrogated them mostly on how much time they spend on social media. Afterward, they used the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System. This is a tool that assessed the level of social isolation people perceived.
The results show that those who spend two hours on social media every day have twice the chances to describe themselves as isolated people than others. Moreover, those who accessed different social platforms for 58 or more times per week were three times more lonely than those who visited such pages for eight times only a week.
While researchers don’t know whether social media is directly responsible for real social deprivation, there are some theories. People have less time for real social experiences when they spend two hours a day in the online. People might feel like they are missing out when they see pics with happy friends, even though they know this is not a perpetual state of mind. Captures of seemingly perfect vacations and lifestyles on social media might lead to envy. This exacerbates the perception that everyone is in a better place than the social user.
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