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Study: Cutting Social Media in Half Significantly Boosts Self-Esteem in Young Adults

Study: Cutting Social Media in Half Significantly Boosts Self-Esteem in Young Adults

In a world where social media is hard to avoid, it’s no secret that it can have a negative impact on mental health. But a recent study shows that reducing social media use, even for just a few weeks, can have a significant positive effect on body image, particularly for young adults.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, found that cutting social media use in half for just three weeks led to improvements in body image and self-esteem. The study focused on a group of young adults between the ages of 17 and 25 who were spending at least two hours a day on their phones and showed symptoms of depression or anxiety.

For the first week of the study, the participants used social media as usual, and their screen time was tracked. In the second week, half the group was asked to reduce their social media use to no more than 60 minutes a day, while the other half continued to use it as usual. The researchers found that the group that reduced their social media use showed significant improvements in body image and self-esteem, while the control group saw no change.

“Youth are spending, on average, between six to eight hours per day on screens, much of it on social media,” Dr. Gary Goldfield said. “Social media can expose users to hundreds or even thousands of images and photos every day, including those of celebrities and fashion or fitness models, which we know leads to an internalization of beauty ideals that are unattainable for almost everyone, resulting in greater dissatisfaction with body weight and shape.”

But the research shows reducing social media use is an effective and easy way to improve positive body image and self-esteem among a vulnerable population of users. And while this study was only conducted over a period of three weeks, the researchers believe that reducing social media use for a sustained period of time could bring even more beneficial rewards.

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