Limiting social media usage is proven to be beneficial! According to a recent scientific experiment, self-limitation has important virtues.

Communicate and share on social networks, chat with friends online… okay, but within reason! Staying on your phone too long is obviously not very smart, saying it is like pushing open doors. But research is advancing on this subject and is providing more and more tangible elements to talk about this phenomenon.

According to May 2023 advisories from the American Psychological Association, two trends are closely related: young people are using social media more and feelings of loneliness are growing. Concomitance or correlation?

Researchers at Iowa State University conducted a two-week experiment involving 230 college students. Half of them were asked to limit their social media use to 30 minutes a day and received automated daily reminders to that effect. Result: This test group had significantly lower scores for anxiety, loneliness and fear of missing out at the end of the experiment compared to the control group. On the contrary, going beyond this creates negative effects and amplifies the discomfort.

Young people in the test group who experienced “30 minutes of social media a day, no more” also had higher scores for “positive affect”, which the researchers describe as “the tendency to experience positive emotions described with words such as “excited” and “proud”.

As a bonus, the researchers found that the psychological benefits of reducing social media extended to participants who occasionally exceeded the 30-minute daily time limit. “The lesson here is that it’s not about being perfect, it’s about putting in the effort, which makes the difference. I think self-limitation and mindfulness are the secret ingredients, more than the benchmark 30 minutes,” says Ella Faulhaber, PhD in human-computer interaction and lead author of the scientific paper.