There's no denying that social media has a huge impact on our lives, but is it possible that it's also effecting our mental health? While it has been linked to lowering stress for women, it has also been known to screw up our sleep patterns and can even lead to social anxiety. These positive and negative side-effects have painted an unclear picture of what social media actually does for us. But now, a new study explains what specific behaviors involving social media contribute to negative outcomes for our mental health.
According to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health, the more social media platforms you use, the more likely you are to experience depression and anxiety. The results conclude that using a range of seven to 11 platforms makes you three times more likely to develop these mental health issues compared to a person who uses zero to two platforms.
That said, Brian A. Primack, the author of the study emphasizes that the directionality of these associations is still unclear.
"People who suffer from symptoms of depression or anxiety, or both, tend to subsequently use a broader range of social media outlets," he told PsyPost, as reported by the Daily Dot. "For example, they may be searching out multiple avenues for a setting that feels comfortable and accepting. However, it could also be that trying to maintain a presence on multiple platforms may actually lead to depression and anxiety. More research will be needed to tease that apart."
While these findings may seem scary, it is important to remember that too much of anything is never good. If you're an avid social media user, try to find and maintain a healthy balance. And as Kendall Jenner and Selena Gomez have so kindly reminded us, there's nothing wrong with a good digital detox once in a while.