Alas, social media is giving people the sads
The idea is to stay connected. But it may be having the opposite effect
March 7, 2017
The entire aim of social media is to forge connections — to keep in contact with people you’d otherwise lose touch with, such as your college friends or childhood crush.
In fact, they may be having an opposite effect. They may be making people feel more disconnected.
That’s the suggestion of a new study conducted by the Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health at the University of Pittsburgh.
It found that adults 19-32 who spend more than two hours per day using social media, described as heavy users, were also the ones most likely to describe themselves as socially isolated.
They were twice as likely to feel lonely as those who spend less time on social media.
The very heaviest users, those who visited social sites 58 times a week or more, were three times as likely to feel isolated as those who visit such sites less than nine times a week.
Social media: Cause or effect?
So what the heck is going on? Are social networks actually tearing us apart instead of uniting us?
Well, yes, possibly. Researchers weren’t able to ascertain the exact reason for the isolation.
It could be that people who are already feeling lonely go to social media more frequently in hopes of making a connection, meaning social media is not the cause of their loneliness.
But researchers admit that it could also be that viewing other people’s seemingly perfect lives could make our own seem emptier by comparison.
It could also be that people who use social media heavily are replacing real-world time with friends with time on Twitter. That lack of real social interaction could contribute to the isolation.
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