New research from Swansea University published in the Journal of Technology in Behavior Science suggests that reducing the time spent on social media surfing by as little as 15 minutes offers a tangible improvement in physical health.
Participants aged 20 to 25 who reduced their social media activity reported “an average 15% improvement in immune function, including fewer colds, flu, warts, and verrucae.” They also reported a 50% improvement in sleep quality and a 30% reduction in depressive symptoms. The test was so effective that folks that were asked to cut down social media time by 15 minutes each day actually ended up reducing their social media exposure by roughly 40 minutes. However, the study also found that telling people to reduce their social media screen time by a fixed duration and spending that time engaged in other activities actually had the opposite effect, increasing social media surfing duration. Professor Phil Reed from Swansea University’s Department of Psychology suggests that letting people be free to choose what to do with their extra time is much more effective.