(Michele Berger-Penn/ Futurity) — Researchers have discovered a connection between Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram use and decreased well-being.
The link between social-media use, depression, and loneliness has been talked about for years, but a causal connection had never been proven. Few prior studies, however, have attempted to show that social media use harms users’ well-being, and those that have either put participants in unrealistic situations or were limited in scope, asking them to completely forego Facebook and relying on self-report data, for example, or conducting the work in a lab in as little time as an hour.
“We set out to do a much more comprehensive, rigorous study that was also more ecologically valid,” says Melissa G. Hunt, associate director of clinical training in the psychology department in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.
To that end, researchers designed their experiment to include the three platforms most popular with a cohort of undergraduates and then collected objective usage data automatically tracked by iPhones for active apps, not those running the background. (…)