The old saying in health and fitness is “everything in moderation” but there’s a chance that screen use, and the apps contained on modern devices, may be even more disruptive than that phrase provides for.
Social media usage was found in a study in Germany to increase stress and anxiety while replacing time spent on social media with exercise was even better for reducing stress than just exiting social media—which was also more effective than just exercise.
Other studies have found that social media usage creates perceptions of interpersonal connection that leads to long-term declines in general mental well-being, and this sense of connection enhances the urgency people feel to stay constantly connected.
The latter conclusion was drawn from a theoretical approach which led to the design of 55 empirical social media addiction studies, which were trying to get a base handle on why overuse of social media is associated with low work performance, less healthy social relationships, sleep problems, low life satisfaction, and feelings of jealousy, anxiety, and depression.
With all this in mind, provided that someone isn’t able to make that key distinction between real social connections and an online social media presence, social media usage might be elevated to something enjoyed sparingly, like an overly decadent dessert.