Psychologists Claim Social Networking Sites Cause Higher Levels Of Loneliness

Many argue that we are now connected more than ever. Human beings can have conversations with one another in an instant regardless of location or time zone thanks to social media. American psychologists recently determined, however, that social media sites have only intensified experiences of social isolation.

Psychologists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine examined the use of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tumblr. The team questioned 2,000 adults between the ages of nineteen and thirty-two. The study concluded that adults who spend more than two hours a day on social media were more than twice as likely to have feelings of loneliness. 

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Dr. Brian Primack stated, “This is an important issue to study because mental health problems and social isolation are at epidemic levels among young adults.We are inherently social creatures, but modern life tends to compartmentalize us instead of bringing us together.” 

The team theorizes that adults who spend more time on social media in turn spend less time on real-world interactions. Users can also feel excluded if they see pictures of their friends at an event that they were not invited to. To top it off, people tend to only post the best parts of their life on social media. Most who spend more time on sites like Instagram and Facebook are only looking at idealized versions of another person’s life.

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Dr. Elizabeth Miller, professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh, remarked, “We do not yet know which came first - the social media use or the perceived social isolation. It's possible that young adults who initially felt socially isolated turned to social media. Or it could be that their increased use of social media somehow led to feeling isolated from the real world.”

This is not the first time, and certainly will not be the last time, that the Internet is blamed for a variety of social ills. One 2014 study debunked the rumor that video games themselves caused violence, but revealed losing a game can increase aggression.