Taking a break from social media improves mental health


Researchers from the University of Bath have reported that taking just one week off social media improved individuals' overall level of well-being and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.

According to study conducted, in the United Kingdom, the number of adults using social has increased from 45% in 2011 to 71% in 2021.

When broken down by age, social media use ranges from 90% to 97% in people between 16 and 44.

The study further says that 95% of adults have used the internet within the last three months, with social networking being the most frequent activity performed.

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"Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are three of the most popular SM [social media] platforms with close to 4 billion users. TikTok has also experienced an exponential increase of 7.5 million users during COVID-19. This widespread adoption of SM has led to an abundance of research examining its impact on individuals' physical and mental health," stated in the study.

Researcher Jeff Lambert explained,  "We know that social media usage is huge and that there are increasing concerns about its mental health effects. So with this study, we wanted to see whether simply asking people to take a week's break could yield mental health benefits."

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"Many of our participants reported positive effects from being off social media with improved mood and less anxiety overall. This suggests that even just a small break can have an impact," Jeff added.

Of course, social media is a part of life, and for many people, it's an indispensable part of who they are and how they interact with others. But if you spend hours each week scrolling and you feel it is negatively impacting you, it could be worth cutting down on your usage to see if it helps. 

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For the study, the researchers allocated over 150 individuals aged 18 to 72 who used social media every day into an intervention group where they were from the apps or a control group. After the experiment, participants asked to take a one-week break reported using social media for an average of 21 minutes compared to an average of seven hours for those in the control group.

Full study findings have been published on cyberpsychology, behaviour and social networking.

Would you consider taking a social media break? Tell us here.

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