CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The studies are in, and new research suggests all that time you spend on social media could be making you less healthy.
The average person spends about 50 minutes a day on Facebook and its secondary social networks Instagram and Messenger, according to the site. Add up the time we spend on other social networks like Twitter and Snapchat and you can quickly see why how much time we spend on our smartphones is becoming concerning.
Now, researchers have found a link between increased screen time and the likelihood of developing serious mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
Dr. Scott Frank, Director of the Master of Public Health Program at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, has researched the effects of increased screen time on kids.
"The screen is seductive. It pulls you in," said Frank. "You want to see the next post on social media. You want to have the next interaction on social media."
He said his research, though focusing on kids, very much relates to adults, too.
The doctor found too much social media use can lead to lower self-esteem because of constant social comparison.
Often times when you see a friend or family member's accomplishment posted on Facebook, you may give it a "like" or a comment, but with it comes a subconscious comparison of that person's life to your own.
That comparison is what Frank found can lead to anxiety among avid social media users.
"Social comparisons are what lead to anxiety when we look at how others are portraying themselves on the internet," said Frank.
One of the best ways to avoid feeling blue from your time online is self-awareness, the doctors said.
He recommends keeping tabs on how much time you're spending online every day and if it's beginning to have negative effects on your health it's time to consider cutting back.
There is some good news from Frank's research, however.
He said he found the negative effects of spending too much time in the digital world can be lessened by spending more time with actual people in the real world.