In this age of ever-increasing technology, it's no secret that spending time on our screens is detrimental to our overall well-being. Being distracted by our electronic devices has already been shown to decrease our actual personal, face-to-face interaction with our peers, as well as contribute to feelings of disconnect in social settings.
Recently, however, a recently published study by the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences found that multi-social media users are actually more likely to be depressed than their peers who are more social media conservative. Through this study, researchers determined that millennials who consistently used more than one platform for a long period of time--rather than only one social media platform--showed increased depression and anxiety. Shockingly, those who reported using 7-11 platforms had more than three times the risk of depression and anxiety than peers who used 0-2 platforms in all, regardless of total overall time spent on social media.
Development of the use of multiple platforms is something largely unique to Generation Y, better known as millennials. Nowadays, kids are often using more than one way to stay in touch. They don't just share a post on Facebook--they'll post the same photo on Instagram, make a short video on Snapchat, and write about it in 140 characters on Twitter.
Yet, according to Brian A. Primack, assistant vice chancellor for health and society at Pitt's Schools of the Health Sciences, researchers are not yet able to determine whether or not the correlation is causational or not.
"While we can't tell from this study whether depressed and anxious people seek out multiple platforms or whether something about using multiple platforms can lead to depression and anxiety," Primach said, "in either case the results are potentially valuable."
Although the direction of the study cannot yet be confirmed, it's clear that limiting social media use may actually aid in improving overall happiness and decreasing levels of depression and anxiety in millennials. Limiting how much time we spend in the virtual world--and investing more of it to our real lives--may ultimately be the way to happiness.