Young people who spend a lot of time on social media appear to be more isolated according to a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Ironically, researchers found heavy social media users had twice the odds of feeling socially isolated compared to those who were “less web-connected.” The researchers surveyed nearly 2,000 participants, ages 19 to 32, about their habits and how they felt about the world around them. It looked at people using Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tumblr.
The study found people who spent about two hours a day on social media had twice the odds of feeling isolated than those who spent 30 minutes a day on these sites.
However, researchers say more work is needed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
"We do not yet know which came first - the social media use or the perceived social isolation," says co-author Elizabeth Miller, professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh.
Miller explained it’s difficult to tell if young adults who initially felt socially isolated turned to social media afterwards, or their social media use increased after feelings of isolation.