It’s Official: Ditching Facebook eases depression and loneliness

A little under a year ago, Facebook admitted what most of us already suspected from our own experiences; that usage habits were negatively affecting people’s mental health. The company acknowledged studies claiming users who spent time ‘passively scrolling information’ could end up ‘feeling worse’ as a result.

Now one influential medical journal has published a new study, proving that limiting time spent on social media can decrease symptoms of loneliness and depression.

The Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology cites a new study from the University of Pennsylvania that limited half of its 143 participants to just 10 minutes of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat use, per platform per day, while a control group used the social media platforms as normal.

Other the course of the three-week test, the participants in the limited use group showed “significant reductions” in loneliness and depression, while both groups showed “significant decreases in anxiety and fear of missing out over baseline, suggesting a benefit of increased self-monitoring.”

Related: How to delete Facebook

That, the authors say, suggests there are benefits to be had from self monitoring. That staying off social media reduces that FOMO.

One participant in the study said: “It was easier than I thought to limit my usage. Afterwards I pretty much stopped using Snapchat because I realized it wasn’t something I missed.”

In conclusion, the authors of the study wrote: “The results from our experiment strongly suggest that limiting social media usage does have a direct and positive impact on subjective well-being over time, especially with respect to decreasing loneliness and depression. That is, ours is the first study to establish a clear causal link between decreasing social media use, and improvements in loneliness and depression.

“It is ironic, but perhaps not surprising, that reducing social media, which promised to help us connect with others, actually helps people feel less lonely and depressed.”

Have you weaned yourself off Facebook? Do you have FOMO? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.