In 10 seconds? Social media (and heavy social media use in particular) is frequently blamed for mental health issues and the drop in face-to-face (FtF) contact seen around the world. However, in the case of socializing there’s no proof suggesting it’s the cause of this decline.
What’s the story? There is strong evidence (like this systematic review) that suggests that social media can worsen mental health problems, anxiety, and depression in particular. (One study – although based on less reliable self-reporting – found a 70% increase in depressive symptoms among social media users. But what about social media making us less social, i.e. physically less social? A recent review article looked at the literature to see if there was any evidence of social displacement of FtF contact with media use. The authors did not find any evidence suggesting that time spent on social media replaced time that would’ve been spent socializing in person.