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Excessive use of social media leads to depression

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A new study by researchers in China has shown that excessive social media use can lead to depression.

Details about the survey

The study surveyed 320 participants living in Wuhan about how they used WeChat, China’s most popular social media app to share health information with family and friends during the pandemic. They also asked the participants to rate their anxiety and depression level. For instance, they will ask them to rate statement such as “I had disturbing dreams about the coronavirus epidemic” and “I felt that life was meaningless” on a stress scale.

Bu Zhong, coauthor of the survey said that the team began looking into the effects of social media use on mental health right after the citizen in Wuhan experienced lockdown.

The objective of this survey is to reveal some invisible harms caused by the outbreak. According to Bu Zhong, local media in China was not reporting news on Covid-19 during the earlier outbreak. This situation made people stressful, and they began relying overwhelmingly on social media.

Survey results

Previous research has shown that the number of people relying on social media to find and share health information increases amid pandemic. The Harris Poll found that 46% to 51% American adults reported using social media more often during the pandemic.

Besides, a new study found out that many participants have experienced some level of depression even though they did not have any depression disorders before the pandemic. Roughly 20% of the participants reported having a moderate to severe level of depression. While slightly more than 20% of participants reported moderate to severe levels of secondary trauma.

At the same time, Zhong said that it is vital to understand the importance of social media in helping people during a health crisis.

He said that it is human nature to reach out to social media to seek help during a disaster. He then stated that their team doesn’t want people to think social media is bad. They just want them to know the balance of using social media. Behaviour like checking it every five to 10 minutes can make the user more stressful.

To conclude, the research said that people who spent more time on health information on WeChat might experience more depression than those who used the platform less. In response, they recommend the user to have social media breaks during a stressful health crisis like Covid-19 pandemic.

 

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Excessive social media use linked to depression during the pandemic, study suggests

 

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