Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

As you walk across the street, are you glued to Facebook on your phone?

At the office, do you scroll down your Instagram feed, just to check that no one you know is currently somewhere exotic?

Do you ever wonder if this behavior is good for your mental equilibrium?

Many scientific types have already delved into whether Facebook, Twitter and the like have health benefits.

Or whether they turn us into self-obsessed hamsters turn round and round on a wheel of personal inadequacy.

Some talk of Facebook depression.

A new study, however, attempts to put a precise age on the point at which social media become bad for human health.

Conducted at Temple University by professors Bruce Hardy and Jessica Castonguay, the study concludes that there's a temporal turning point.

Before it, social media is actually good for you. Apparently.

Once you're past the threshold, however, you start to be ill, even if you don't know it.

Yes, of course I'm deliberately postponing the age at which the cusp occurs.

That's because I know you think it must be 9. Or 10. Or 12, at the most.

Astonishingly, it's 30.

"Adults younger than 29 reported better mental well-being, the more social channels they engaged, while adults older than 30 reported less well-being as the number of platforms they used increased," a university press release reveals.

What delightful news this must be for parents. 

They worry so much about their little Jocastas and Jonathans burying their heads in the world of virtual friends.

How odd, then, that it isn't until the age of 30 that Facebook can allegedly damage your mental state.

The researchers analyzed data from the 2016 General Social Survey.

They concluded: "We show that, overall, the number of SNSs [Social Networking Sites] one uses is positively related to respondents reporting that they have felt like they were going to have a nervous breakdown."

I can't imagine that this study will suddenly make parents encourage their kids to participate in more social media.

You're only on Snapchat and Instagram, darling? That's not good for you. You simply have to try Twitter and Facebook, too. 

Yet these researchers claim that younger people who grow up avoiding social media actually experience more stress.

It may be surprising to many, however, that it's only at 30 that respondents seemed to hit social media-inspired angst. 

Some will speculate that 30 is an age of much change for many people.

They suddenly feel they're dropped into the creek of adulthood without a paddle to help them survive.

The Temple researchers offered their own suspicions as to why 30 is the magic number of doom.

They pointed to the influence of social comparison.

30 is an age at which you perhaps begin to reconnect with people from the past.

"When you're younger, you're growing up with people on social media," Hardy said. "You, for instance, don't notice the aging face of a spouse but when you look at people you haven't seen in years, you have a different perspective."

And then you become tortured that your life is going in an unhappy direction.

Life is hard enough as it is. 

Perhaps one recipe for enjoying it more is to bathe in Facebook, Twitter and the like until you're 30. 

Then go cold turkey. 

Just think, you might never have to look at some distant acquaintance's baby pictures ever again. 

Surely that will make you happier. 

Published on: Apr 28, 2018