Social media provides a lot of value to the world, but a new study suggests that we should start taking it in smaller doses – ideally no more than 30 minutes per day. The experimental study was conducted by Melissa G. Hunt and others at the University of Pennsylvania, and indications so far show that modest use of social media can directly improve our mental well-being.
With the help of 143 participants, two groups were created. The first group was limited to 10 minutes of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat each day. The other group consisted of people who didn’t have to change their habits at all. Before the study was kicked off, every participant filled out a “well-being survey” to gauge where they were mentally before the monitoring began.
Everyone involved was an iPhone user, as the battery consumption graphs allowed the researchers to easily monitor social media usage, and make sure no one was cheating (we have to assume no one did in fact cheat by using another device). The study was then conducted over the course of three weeks, giving a reasonable amount of time to see how things can change as people ween themselves off social media.
The study ultimately found that the limited use group showed a significant reduction in loneliness and depression compared to the group with full control over their use. Interestingly, both groups had the same significant drop in anxiety and fear of missing out, suggesting that if you are self-monitoring, you’re probably going to naturally use social media a bit less. If you want the clearest head, it’s beginning to look like self-monitoring your social networking usage could be a good thing.
Can you survive on 30 minutes of your favorite social network each day?