According to new research, a social media break for just a week improves an individual’s overall level of well-being, as well as reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety which helps people manage their mental health.
The findings of the research were published in the journal Cyberpsychology Behavior and Social Networking. The study, carried out by a team of researchers at the University of Bath, studied the mental health effects of a weeklong social media break. For some study participants, this meant releasing approximately nine hours of their week, which would otherwise have been spent scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok.
For the study, the researchers randomly allocated 154 individuals aged 18 to 72 who used social media every day into either an intervention group, where they were asked to stop using all social media for one week or a control group, where they could continue scrolling as normal. At the beginning of the study, baseline scores for anxiety, depression, and wellbeing were taken.
Participants reported spending an average of 8 hours per week on social media at the start of the study. One week later, the participants who were asked to take the one-week break had significant improvements in wellbeing, depression, and anxiety than those who continued to use social media, suggesting a short-term benefit.
Participants asked to take a one-week break reported using social media for an average of 21 minutes compared to an average of seven hours for those in the control group. Screen usage stats were provided to check that individuals had adhered to the break.