Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat makes us feel MORE alone, say psychologists

Social media is making young people feel more alone, say psychologists.

Even though they are designed to help people connect, social media platforms are making us feel more isolated, according to a study.

It found that the more time young adults spend on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, the more likely they are to feel cut off from the rest of society.

Researchers at the school of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh discovered that more than two hours of social media use a day doubled the chances of a person experiencing social isolation.

MORE: This mysterious spiked-covered sea creature has baffled the fishermen who found it
MORE: Kent school starts punishing pupils for HICCUPING under strict new rules

Participants who visited various social media sites 58 or more times per week were three times more at risk of isolation than those visiting less than nine times per week.

Lead scientist Professor Brian Primack said: “This is an important issue to study because mental health problems and social isolation are at epidemic levels among young adults.

“We are inherently social creatures, but modern life tends to compartmentalise us instead of bringing us together.

“While it may seem that social media presents opportunities to fill that social void, I think this study suggests that it may not be the solution people were hoping for.”

Researchers questioned 1,787 adults aged 19 to 32 about their use of the 11 the most popular social media platforms at the time in 2014: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Pintrest, Vine and LinkedIn.

Each person was assessed for self-perceived social isolation using a standard technique called the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (Promis) that provides scores for a wide range of measurements.

The link with isolation was found even after taking account of social and demographic factors that might have influenced the results.

Social networking can make us lonely (Picture: Rex)
Social networking can make us lonely (Picture: Rex)

Co-author Elizabeth Miller, professor of paediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh, said: “We do not yet know which came first – the social media use or the perceived social isolation.

“It’s possible that young adults who initially felt socially isolated turned to social media. Or it could be that their increased use of social media somehow led to feeling isolated from the real world.

“It also could be a combination of both. But even if the social isolation came first, it did not seem to be alleviated by spending time online, even in purportedly social situations.”

The findings were published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.