Does social media affect our mental health?
It can increase anxiety and depression by fostering unfavorable social comparisons and envy.
We all know that social media can be distracting. But a spate of new research suggests that it can also have more serious effects on our mental health.
The roll-out of Facebook on one campus was shown to increase depression and the utilization of mental health services. Similarly, deactivating Facebook for even a few weeks caused users to feel more life satisfaction and less depression, especially among men.
Why might this be the case? Researchers confirmed what many users already know: Facebook usage fosters unfavorable social comparisons and envy.
It's possible that active users who post updates and comments rather than simply scrolling through feeds are spared the worst of these negative effects. But the evidence on this distinction is still inconclusive.
So if you think that social media may be causing you more harm than good, then it's probably time to take a break from it.