Half of Americans say they plan to cut back on social media in new year

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January 11, 2017 by Paul Dughi

Modern meeting with laptops
How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions so far?

About half of Americans count cutting back, or dropping out, of social media is one of their resolutions for 2017, according to data from Treem.  How they came up with that number (51%), I have no idea as they don’t list their source.  But I’ve heard from friends and colleagues, ironically many on social media.

There are a lot of reasons people are cutting back on social media usage:

  • The proliferation of fake news
  • Avoiding work colleagues
  • Avoiding parents
  • Reducing “drama” in their lives
  • “Social envy” of others’ lives

They may be on to something

A place called “The Happiness Research Institute” recruited 1095 people. Half of the group stopped using Facebook for one week. The rest continued their normal routine and served as a control group. Both groups were regular Facebook users. 94% visited daily. 78% spent 30 minutes or more on the site.

After just one week without Facebook, the group that abstained reported a significantly higher level of life satisfaction.

happy-2

Those without Facebook reported an increase in social activity (you know, actual social activity) and an increased satisfaction with their social life in general. They found it easier to concentrate. Less stressed.

happy

Those social comparisons we talked about? People on Facebook are 39% more likely to feel less happy than their friends.

So staying off of Facebook, for even just a week can make us happier.

The flip side may be true as well, especially in teens and young adults. For teens, the more social media they consume, the more likely they are to be depressed according to two studies.

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has released research findings that show the more time young adults spend on line with social media, the more likely they are to suffer from depression. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, so it’s not to be taken lightly.

“Because social media has become such an integrated component of human interaction, it is important for clinicians interacting with young adults to recognize the balance to be struck in encouraging potential positive use, while redirecting from problematic use. ”  Brian Primack, Director, Center for Research on Media & Technology

 

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