Now Reading
Study: Binge-watching YouTube Might Make You Depressed

Study: Binge-watching YouTube Might Make You Depressed

It’s no secret that YouTube is a great way to pass the time. With endless hours of content on virtually any topic, what if all that time spent watching videos is actually making you more lonely and depressed?

That’s the finding of a new study from Griffith University in Australia. Researchers found that people who spent more than two hours a day on YouTube were more likely to report feeling lonely, anxious and depressed. And those who spent more than five hours a day on the platform were even more likely to experience these negative emotions.

At 35 percent, the largest demographic of YouTube viewers are between the ages of 18 to 34. Coincidentally, that same age group is also experiencing more loneliness than any other generation before. And while YouTube isn’t the sole factor for this trend, it’s arguably not helping the situation.

So what’s the connection between YouTube and loneliness? According to the study’s authors, it’s all about social comparison. When we spend a lot of time watching videos of other people’s lives, it can be easy to start comparing ourselves to them. And when we start to feel like our own lives don’t measure up, it can lead to negative feelings.

The researchers believe that there are a few reasons why spending too much time on YouTube can be bad for your mental health. First, YouTube can be a very isolating experience. When you’re watching videos by yourself, you’re not interacting with other people in the real world. It may feel like you are for a while, but pretty soon your mind will catch up and recognize that your closest friends are in a parasocial relationship.

“These online ‘relationships’ can fill a gap for people who, for example, have social anxiety, however it can exacerbate their issues when they don’t engage in face-to-face interactions, which are especially important in developmental years,” said Dr. Luke Balcombe, the study’s lead author. “We recommend individuals limit their time on YouTube and seek out other forms of social interaction to combat loneliness and promote positive mental health.”

Second, YouTube can be a very negative place. It’s not all funny cat videos, unbelievable trick shots or helpful how-tos. There are a lot of videos on YouTube that are depressing, violent or otherwise disturbing. YouTube updated their rules regarding violence and profanity, but it won’t catch everything.

Third, like any other social media platform, YouTube can be very addictive. It’s easy to get lost in a rabbit hole of videos, and before you know it, you’ve spent hours watching them. Eventually, this can lead to problems with sleep, work and even relationships.

Of course, not everyone who watches YouTube will experience these negative emotions. But if you find yourself spending a lot of time on the platform and starting to feel down, it might be a good idea to cut back on YouTube and step into the real world.

© 2023 RELEVANT Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Scroll To Top

You’re reading our ad-supported experience

For our premium ad-free experience, including exclusive podcasts, issues and more, subscribe to

Plans start as low as $2.50/mo