A recent experimental study published in the Technology, Mind, and Behavior journal found that cutting down screen time by 30 minutes each day via self-monitoring social media usage improved psychological well-being.
Researchers at Iowa State University elected 230 undergraduate students to two groups: One group was instructed to limit their social media use by 30 minutes each day and the others continued using social media as normal.
The positive mental health impact specifically included decreased feelings of anxiety, depression, loneliness, and fear of missing out—a pretty big win for such a small change.
Now this may not be immediately surprising, but the study suggests something important: You don’t have to fully cut out social media to feel the benefits. Even just 30 minutes a day for two weeks can have a major positive effect on mental health.
Also of significance is the fact that this study was a self-monitoring study. In other social media research, similar experiments are often conducted where researchers administer the monitoring, taking the responsibility out of the hands of users. But this method is more realistic and actionable, especially for folks just starting out on the mindful tech journey.
Of course, the positive effects of limiting social media will vary for every person depending on their current screen time use and habits, what they replace that time with, and underlying mental health struggles. Still, it’s a finding worth noting.