Avoiding Social Media For Just a Week Boosts Well-Being, Cuts Depression

Doctors may soon be writing a very simple prescription to improve your mental health: “get off social media!”

A new study finds avoiding social media platforms for just one week significantly improved a person’s well-being and also lowered levels of both anxiety and depression.A team from the University of Bath found that social media users can sometimes spend up to nine hours on their favorite platforms in a single week. This includes endlessly scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok.

Previous studies have found conflicting data when it comes to the benefits and harms of social media. While some reports have disputed claims that social media is addictive (especially for children), others have noted up to 50 harmful effects of constantly browsing these platforms.

To find out what happens when someone “detoxes” from social media, study authors gathered 154 people between the ages of 18 and 72 who all use social media daily. On average, these people spent around eight hours of their week browsing various social platforms. After one week of normal use, the team randomly split the participants into one of two groups – one using social media as normal and the other trying to avoid any social media use for one week.