A recent study at Iowa State University showed that various important mental health indicators are significantly improved by voluntarily limiting the use of social media to no more than 30 minutes a day. This was reported in an article in Neuroscience News:
- Participants who limited their social media usage to 30 minutes a day demonstrated a significant reduction in anxiety, depression, loneliness, and fear of missing out.
- The study found that striving to reduce social media usage, even if occasionally exceeding the limit, still yielded positive mental health benefits.
- The researchers suggest this self-limiting method of reducing social media usage, which could be more practical than strict abstention, may serve as an effective intervention against rising mental health issues among young adults.”
Since 45% of US teens are online “almost constantly” (a number that has doubled since 2014) , 30 minutes a day constitutes a significant social media “diet” but is highly recommended given the health benefits.
I discussed the harmful effect of social media use in the section on mindfulness here, so I don’t find these results to be surprising. There is a good article with tips about more healthy use of social media here.
- Anderson, M., & Jiang, J. (). Teens, social media & technology (Vol. 31). Pew Research Center, 2018.