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Adults between the ages of 18 and 72 who use social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok and Twitter daily found that a one week break from platforms saw improvements in their wellbeing. The study, published in May in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking was conducted by researchers at the University of Bath. Over 150 participants were recruited and subsequently split into an intervention or control group. At the beginning of the study, most reported spending an average of 8 hours on social media each day. Those who were asked to abstain from using social media reported feeling less anxious or depressed, and had an overall better sense of wellbeing compared to those who continued to use platforms. Dr Jeff Lambert, lead researcher of the study and member of Bath’s Department for Health, understands that this is not a simple undertaking for everybody. “Social media is a part of life and for many people it’s an indispensable part of who they are…but if you are spending hours each week scrolling…it could be worth cutting down on your usage.” Across the United Kingdom social media use has increased significantly. Just a decade ago, in 2011, only 45% of adults said they were using social media as a way to communicate with others. By 2021 this had risen to 71%. Dr Lambert and his team have plans to work with different demographics and people with physical or mental health issues to see if they can be supported in relation to this. Mental health charity Mind reports that one in six people experience a mental health problem in any given week. Read more information here.

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