There are plenty of social media sites out there that can help keep you connected with friends and family. From Instagram, SnapChat, Periscope to Twitter, there is bound to be something for everyone. Of course, Facebook is the most popular social media site with almost 2 billion active monthly users worldwide.
These sites are intended to bring people together by sharing thoughts, life experiences, pictures and whatever your heart desires. But are they actually having a negative effect?
Is too much social media bad for you?
You might be surprised to find out that the answer is yes. According to a recent study, high amounts of social media usage (SMU) could lead to increased feelings of isolation. Social isolation is when someone lacks a sense of belonging, real engagement with others and fulfilling relationships.
The study looked at young adults between ages 19 and 32 who use social media in varying amounts. Researchers found that those with higher amounts of SMU were more likely to have perceived social isolation (PSI). This can lead to health problems such as depression.
Even though social media strengthens human connections online, it could lessen in-person interaction. Also, seeing other people posting pictures and stories of their wonderful vacations or shiny new vehicles could have a negative effect. It can make some users feel socially isolated because others are leading happier lives.
One of the study's researchers said, "We do not yet know which came first - social media use, or the perceived social isolation. It's possible that young adults who initially felt socially isolated turned to social media. Or, it could be that their increased use of social media somehow led to feeling isolated from the real world.
"It could also be a combination of both. But even if the social isolation came first, it did not seem to be alleviated by spending time online, even in purportedly social situations."
In conclusion, the researchers said the topic needs to be studied more to determine the full effect of too much social media use. But it's a good idea to try and better balance your online interactions with face-to-face interactions. It could result in a healthier life.
Click here if you want to see the study's full results.