BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A new study performed by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh found that social media made people feel alone. Such websites are designed to make it easier for people to connect, but it appears that they are having the exact opposite effect.
Psychologists suggest that people feel lonelier if they spend much time on social media platforms. If they spend most of their time browsing Facebook or Twitter, they are more likely to feel like they are cut out from the world.
The research suggests that people who spend more than two hours a day on the internet have double the chances to feel isolated. For the study, researchers surveyed 1,787 adults aged between 19 and 32 on how often they use popular social media websites.
They chose the most popular 11 platforms, namely Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, Reddit, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Vine. These were the top social media platforms in 2014, at the time when the research was conducted.
The results showed that those who went online 58 times a week or more were three times more likely to experience feelings as loneliness or isolation, as compared to those who went online less, for example nine times a week.
The link between social media and isolation was still present even after eliminating the social factors that could have altered the results.
Brian Primack, the lead scientist involved in the study, says that mental issues and social isolation among young people are at peak at the moment. Social media is what it seems like a solution to social issues, but it takes people apart instead of bringing them together.
The scientists are not sure which was the first, the acute feeling of loneliness or social media use. After all, it might be a combination of the two. They say that, even if loneliness drives people to go online, it does not work as a solution.
They explained that, the more time a person spends online, the less time he or she has for real interactions. Also, seeing the events on other’s lives might cause feelings of envy and insufficiency.
The experts say that they do not contradict the fact that some people might find comfort in social media interactions. However, these environments are not helpful for those who often experience feelings of loneliness.
Image Source: Flickr