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Be Social in Real Life TOO!

Once a month I go to Sacramento to visit my family. My cousin and her three kids and I go to dinner. We typically do not allow phones at the dinner table. This was something that my cousin, the kids' mom, implemented. When she first decided this, I was pretty shocked. I have to admit that I am just as guilty as the kids when it comes to constantly being on my phone when we are spending time together. I wanted to question her decision, but thought it best not to at the time. I allowed a couple of family dinners to pass, but I still wanted to know why no phones at the table. So before the next dinner I worked up the nerve to ask her.

Surprisingly, she didn’t really have an answer for me. She made a lot of ‘I feel’ statements. There was nothing concrete. This made me want to find out more. Social media keeps us all connected. We are friends with people we know in our everyday lives, and we are also friends with people we have never met. We use social media for political platforms, as a marketing tool, and to express feelings. But is overuse of social platforms a good thing? Can there be a relationship to the rise in depression and the amount of time spent on social media? A group of scientists from the University of Pennsylvania sought to answer that vary same question. They found a loose connection between depression and social media time. A decrease in a person’s normal social media use lead to an increase in the person’s mood (Hunt et al., 2018). While this is a small sample size, the experimental design is solid. The results show us that nothing can replace actual human interaction. So with this being said, be mindful and present when spending time with your family, friends and acquaintances. Be social in real life, not just on the internet.

Melissa G. Hunt, Rachel Marx, Courtney Lipson, and Jordyn Young (2018). No More FOMO: Limiting Social Media Decreases Loneliness and Depression. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology: Vol. 37, No. 10, pp. 751-768.

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