How many minutes a day on social media do you need to get depressed? The scientists analyzed the time that more than 1,000 Americans, ages 18 to 30, spent using social media. They also measured their level of depression through a questionnaire and counted the time respondents spent on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, and SnapChat.
People who used social media for more than 300 minutes a day were – in less than 6 months – 2.8 times more likely to develop depression compared to people who used social media for less than 120 minutes.
“The initial high use of social media led to higher rates of depression. However, the initial depression did not cause any change in social media use,” said lead study author Brian Primack from the University of Arkansas.
In the United States, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine will publish in February 2021 the first complete study of the link between the use of social networks and the development of depression in that country.
Rethinking Social Media usage
Some research data could make users rethink about the time spent on these new technologies. “These technologies can definitely be valuable, so I urge people to think about which ones are really useful and which ones leave them feeling empty,” Primack said.
The WHO considers depression as the main global cause of disability that contributes very significantly to mortality. The study on depression could also be very important in times of the COVID-19 Pandemic, given that many people use new media for longer to communicate, say the researchers.