Just two hours of social media use a day can double the risk of young adults feeling “socially isolated,” according to a recent study.
The study — led by Brian A. Primack, the director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health — discovered that the longer young adults spend on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and even YouTube, the more likely they were to feel socially isolated.
“Primack and his team examined questionnaires in 2014 from 1,787 Americans between the ages of 19 and 32. The surveys sought to see how often the participants logged onto the 11 most popular social networks and how much time a typical session would last,” reported Studyfinds.org. “Those who spent more than two hours a day on social media were twice as likely to show signs of social isolation than participants who spent no more than 30 minutes on the sites.”
“Similarly, young adults who visited the sites at least 58 times in a week were triple the odds of feeling socially isolated than those who only logged onto social media nine times in a week,” they continued. “This held true even when demographic and other control factors were taken into consideration.”
In response to the study’s results, Primack claimed that social media is often used to fill a social void, however, it “may not be the solution people were hoping for.”
“This is an important issue to study because mental health problems and social isolation are at epidemic levels among young adults,” Primack claimed. “We are inherently social creatures, but modern life tends to compartmentalize us instead of bringing us together… While it may seem that social media presents opportunities to fill that social void, I think this study suggests that it may not be the solution people were hoping for.”
“I don’t doubt that some people using certain platforms in specific ways may find comfort and social connectedness via social media relationships,” he continued. “However, the results of this study simply remind us that, on the whole, use of social media tends to be associated with increased social isolation and not decreased social isolation.”