Yet another high-quality study suggests you’d be happier if you quit social media

As someone who follows tech and productivity news for work, I’ve noticed a few research conclusions that come up so regularly that I’m amazed that scientists even bother to continue studying these topics. That naps are good for productivity and that people are happier and healthier when they spend time in nature are two good examples.

A recent blog post by computer science professor and author Cal Newport reminded me of another topic in this genre. Exactly how many studies do people need to be convinced of this? social media often makes us unhappy

I’ve lost count of how many columns I’ve written about a study showing that using social media makes us anxious and depressed (not to mention a ton of anecdotal evidence). But if you found all that previous research inconclusive, Newport emphasizes: another new newspaper using the gold standard of research design — a randomized controlled trial — to arrive at the same conclusion: If you use less social media, your brain will likely thank you.

A clear conclusion on mental health and social media

The problem with many previous studies of the effects of social media on mental health is that almost all of them rely on correlation. Researchers look at the mental health of a large group of people who use social media a lot and a large group of people who use less and compare them.

These kinds of studies can be bigger or smaller, more or less rigorous, but they all deal with the same fundamental problem. Maybe people who use social media a lot use it because they were anxious and depressed in the beginning. In that case, spending a lot of time online the symptom is not the cause of mental distress. Or maybe these groups differ in other hidden ways. Despite the efforts of researchers to solve these problems, some questions always remain.

The new study highlighted by Newport and recently published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networks avoids these problems. Rather than observe existing social media behavior, the researchers recruited 154 subjects and randomly instructed half to stop using social media for a week and a half to continue their online habits.

Since the two groups are chosen at random, the only relevant difference between them should be whether they took a break from social media (the researchers checked the screen usage statistics to keep the participants honest). This makes the causal relationship a lot clearer. If the quitters are feeling more or less miserable after the social media free week, then social media is pretty obvious the reason. That is why this is known as the gold standard of study design.

What did the researchers find? Here’s the bottom line, according to Newport: “At the end of this week, the researchers found ‘significant differences between groups’ in well-being, depression and anxiety, with the intervention group doing much better on all three metrics. These results held even after control for baseline scores, as well as for age and gender.”

“The researchers further found that they could get smaller, but still significant, improvements in depression and anxiety by simply having users reduce the time they spend on Twitter and TikTok. However, the biggest effects came from complete abstinence,” he adds. .

Are you going to change your behavior?

It’s true that this study only looks at short-term effects, but other than that caveat, it seems to offer as clear a conclusion as you could ask. So how many studies do you need to see before you actually take action and change your habits accordingly?

If you’re already convinced you need to cut back on your social media use, but struggle to carry out your intentions, both Newport and other researchers have detailed advice on how to strike a healthier balance when it comes to social media. .

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not’s.

Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

More from author


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related posts


Latest posts

The Nostalgia Factor: Why Retro Gaming Continues to Thrive

In the fast-paced world of modern video games with their stunning graphics, lifelike simulations, and complex narratives, there's a distinct charm in returning to...

The Rise of Cross-Platform App Development in Australia

In the ever-evolving landscape of app development, the need for efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and wider reach has given rise to a significant trend: cross-platform app...

Embracing Efficiency and Nature: Why Outdoor Pods Trump Typical Cubicles

In the ever-evolving world of work, the concept of the traditional office is undergoing a profound transformation. The limitations of the conventional cubic office...

Want to stay up to date with the latest news?

We would love to hear from you! Please fill in your details and we will stay in touch. It's that simple!