What happens when you quit social media? The results of the latest research are surprising

What happens when you quit social media?  The results of the latest research are surprising

Almost everyone uses social media today. So scientists took a closer look at this aspect of life and checked what results a week’s break from them would bring. Did the study participants struggle with unpleasant withdrawal symptoms?

Social media can help with interpersonal relationships – they make it easier to make friends with people from other countries or maintain bonds with loved ones who are far away. However, they may also have an addictive effect. Social media plays an important role in today’s world, but sometimes its use can be too intense. Sometimes, some people take a break from social media. Scientists from the University of Durham in the UK conducted a study on this topic. The results were published in the journal “PLOS ONE”.

Social media detox – study

According to previous reports, some aspects of social media use may resemble addictive behaviors. It may therefore seem that in the case of people who use social media intensively, during “detox” they will experience symptoms that occur in addicts after discontinuing a potentially addictive agent. Scientists observed people who spent a lot of time on this type of entertainment (up to 9 hours a day).

The experiment was conducted on 51 people (volunteers) who were between 18 and 25 years old. Before the study, they spent from 30 minutes to 9 hours each day browsing social media. During the experiment, these people did not use them at all for 6 days. The researchers observed the subjects throughout this period and for the following four days. They monitored their mood and mental well-being. By the end of the study, 86 percent of participants had been tempted to log on to social media at least once.

What were the effects of social media rehab?

Participants’ mood was assessed three days before and four days after the abstinence period ended. It might seem that when participants suddenly stop using social media, they would experience “withdrawal symptoms” such as anxiety, mood changes, or irritability. However, it turned out that they did not occur in the participants. The second conclusion of the study was that such people felt less negative emotions after an almost week-long break from social media, but the situation was similar with positive emotions. As researchers have noted, this may be because limiting the use of social media removes experiences that trigger negative emotions (e.g., comparing oneself with others), but also those that have a positive effect (e.g., social approval).

Each of the study participants had much fewer problems with suddenly quitting social media than they had previously expected. Either the participants did not experience any negative symptoms related to them, or they were minor and therefore did not negatively affect their mental well-being. These people also felt less bored during the day and had a lower feeling of loneliness.

Is social media addictive? New applications

The study’s authors, Michael Wadsley and Niklas Ihssen, also believe that even heavy social media use does not appear to be addictive for most people. “Importantly, contrary to the hypotheses, we did not find evidence that any withdrawal-like effects are associated with very intensive use of social media. “This suggests that, similar to the recent consensus on diagnostic guidelines for video gaming disorder that abandoned the use of withdrawal criteria, the concept of withdrawal may be of little relevance when diagnosing problematic social media use,” the researchers explained.

Psychology experts note, however, that more rigorous research on this topic is needed. They also add that a week without using social media is a very short time, and an addicted person’s mood may not deteriorate immediately after quitting social media. Additionally, participants’ behavior may have been influenced by knowing when exactly the abstinence period would end.

Similar Posts