He described the findings as "important", noting that "because of its experimental design, this study goes an important step further [than prior research] in showing that actively reducing social media use can be helpful".
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found that limiting social media usage can significantly reduce the feeling of loneliness and depression.
Unlike a control group, which was tasked with performing their usual social media activities, the experimental group was limited to using the three aforementioned social media sites to 10 minutes per day.
This isn't the first study to show that social media use and loneliness or depression are correlated, but this is the first one that says there is an actual causal link.
"When you're not busy getting sucked into clickbait social media, you're actually spending more time on things that are more likely to make you feel better about your life".
"We set out to do a much more comprehensive, rigorous study that was also more ecologically valid", said Melissa Hunt, lead author of the study and associate director of clinical training in the Psychology Department of the University of Pennsylvania.
Hunt and Young emphasized that the study did not intend to eliminate social media usage entirely among the intervention group.
A group of 143 undergraduate students were assigned to two groups and their social media habits were studied over three weeks.
"Facebook did not participate in this study, but our teams are working to better understand the research about technology and well-being".
'This can be particularly true for those who only use Facebook for professional purposes, wanting to have their work displayed to as many as people as possible, including those they might not wish to be friends with'.
But, they had a choice of limiting their usage or to continue using the apps as they generally did. Then, the researchers analyzed a number of factors in the participants including depression, loneliness, anxiety as well as fear of missing out.
Plus, social media consists of a whole lot of other platforms as well like Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook Messenger etc, which were not taken into account.
You know what makes us feel sad?
But the restrictions had no impact on feelings of social support, self-esteem or one's overall sense of well-being.