The researchers at the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health found that the use of social media platforms could lead to an increased sense of isolation. The physicians published the results of their study in the journal American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
What do we mean by social isolation?
So-called social isolation is defined by a lack of affiliation, true engagement with other people, and the lack of fulfilled interpersonal relationships. Previous studies have already noted that social isolation is associated with an increased risk of illness and death, the experts explain.
Young adults are particularly at risk
Psychological problems and social isolation have now grown to epidemic levels among young adults, explained Dr. Dr. Brian Primack from the University of Pittsburgh. It is possible that increased social media use in some people helps to alleviate the feelings of social isolation. In young adults, however, such use seems to have the opposite effect, because it restricts the true interaction with other people, the doctors add.
Many people are unrealistic on social media platforms
In addition, social media can give the affected person the impression that othersPeople a much happier life lead. One reason for this could be that these people are often unrealistic online, the researchers explain further.
Medical Professionals Investigate the Impacts of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
To determine how the use of social media is linked to the sense of social isolation, the physicians used their study questionnaires by more than 1,700 American adults aged 19 to 32Years. Through the questionnaires, the experts then tried to assess how socially isolated people felt themselves affected and how often these people used eleven different popular social media platforms. These included Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
subjects spent an average of about one hour each day with social media
On average, the study participants spent almost an hour( 61 minutes) on so-called social media platforms every day. The median was about 30 times a week. Just over a quarter( 27 percent) of the subjects reported a high degree of social isolation. According to the researchers, a greater use of social media could be associated with increased feelings of social isolation.
Strong users were twice as vulnerable
Compared with study subjects who spent less than 30 minutes a day with social media, it was about twice as likely to be a high degree among strong users( more than two hours per day) of such platformsto develop social isolation, the scientists say. When volunteers use the social media platforms more than 58 times a week, they reported three times as often about a sense of high social isolation compared to participants who controlled their social media accounts less than nine times a week.
However, it is still unclear what was first - either the use of social media or perceived social isolation, explained Professor Elizabeth Miller of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Social media platforms do not alleviate any social isolation
It is possible that young adults have initially felt socially isolated before joining social media. It could also be that the increased use of social media for some reason leads to the fact that affected people feel isolated from the real world, the scientists surmise. Of course it could also be a combination of both situations, adds the professor. But even if the social isolation first emerged, it did not seem to be alleviated by the time spent on social media platforms.(as)
Many people today use so-called social media platforms to connect with other people through postings and likes. Researchers have now discovered that the use of social media platforms increases the likelihood of a feeling isolated from society.