New research links social media and youth depression

Cover credit: Pexels

Cover credit: Pexels

If you've been frequently visiting your social media accounts, and you've been lately feeling blue, sad or depressed, your exposure to the virtual world might be the reason, a new research study suggested.

The recent study, conducted by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, confirmed that the use of social media could be a contributor to depression.

The survey participants who have admitted to spending at least one hour on social media per day were the most susceptible to depression.

Related: Why depression is common among college students

Social media shows the best of your friends' worlds. It is a reflection of what each person is projecting about themselves and their lives, so it makes users feel jealous and bad about theirs, leading to stress and anxiety.

The solution would be, according to Molly Yatso Butz, a health and wellness director in the Oshkosh Community of YMCA USA (the Young Men's Christian Association in the U.S.), in an article she wrote for USA Today, to "take a break from social media" and "be realistic."

Butz also suggested the following tips to find out whether social media is hurting or helping you.

1. Ask yourself what is the motive behind your use of social media. Butz said it "shouldn't be used as a comparison tool but more as a way to stay connected or to network."

2. Limit your time on it. By controlling the amount of time you spend in the virtual world, you regain control over your feelings of jealousy and sadness.

3. Spend more time interacting with others in the real world. Consider upping your interactions with people, whether you talk to them live or send them a message on social media.

4. Schedule time for your friends and family. Securing positive relationships with them is key to restoring your confidence and reducing stress.

5. Engage in some outdoor activities to do in order to clear your mind and do something beneficial for yourself instead of checking what others want you to see.