Social Media Could Be What’s Making You Feel Lonely

Photograph Gauthier DELECROIX .

You wouldn’t think something that keeps us all connected breeds loneliness, but a new study suggests that social media could be what’s making you feel more isolated.

The study, led by Brian Primack, the director of the Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health at the University of Pittsburgh, found that young adults who spent more than two hours a day on social media perceived themselves to be more socially isolated than those who spent a half hour or less with the same platforms. Instead of feeling a general sense of well-being after socializing with people virtually, participants encountered the opposite. They felt left out and alone.

Primack and his colleagues aren’t sure what the direct cause is, but they suggests it may have something to do with seeing other people interact with each other. It seems like everyone else is connecting, having a ball, and living it up as you scroll through your feed. Feeling lonely may also drive people to use social media more, which feeds into itself. You feel lonely, hop on social media, then feel more lonely, so you spend more time using it. This isn’t all to say you should abandon your social media accounts, but it’s some useful food for thought. If you’re feeling lonely, consider cutting back on social media, not using it more.

Social Media Use and Perceived Social Isolation Among Young Adults in the U.S. | American Journal of Preventive Medicine via NPR Shots

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