*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on Study Finds.
For children and young adults alike, it can sometimes seem like their smartphones are a part of their bodies. While younger people aren’t the only ones who can develop an addiction to surfing social media all day, a new study finds it can have a serious impact on their mental health. Researchers at the University of Arkansas say the more minutes young adults spend on social media, the more likely they are to suffer from depression.
Specifically, the study finds young adults who spend over 300 minutes (five hours) a day on social media are nearly three times more likely to suffer from depression than those who spend less than 120 minutes (two hours) online each day. Researchers believe obsessions with platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Snapchat, and Facebook are quickly replacing of forming real world friendships and achieving goals.
Study authors also think teens are comparing themselves to “photoshopped” perfect lifestyles they see online, which are impossible to obtain in reality. This makes them feel worthless in comparison to these images.
In the first large study to show a link between social media use and depression, researchers fear the COVID-19 pandemic will only increase internet use and worsen mental health problems. Study authors examined more than 1,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 30, measuring levels of depression and their use of social media.
The results reveal young adults using social media more than five hours per day are 2.8 times more likely to become depressed within six months. This is compared to their peers who browse these platforms under two hours per day.
The findings appear in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.