Spending Too Much Time On Social Media Is Worsening The Mental Health Of Users During The COVID-19 Pandemic

It has become nearly impossible to escape news related to the COVID-19 crisis, even with the increasing social distancing efforts. Coronavirus news leads evening newscasts, and almost every politician and even late-night comedians are discussing the virus. Social media platforms are also filled with coronavirus related stories, and a lot of people are turning to social networks to consume coronavirus news. But the question is whether a person should turn to these digital platforms for their daily dose of news or not?

Social media platforms continue to remain filled with coronavirus fake news despite the best efforts to stop the spread of misinformation across these platforms. It is evident that everything you see on social media is not valid, yet more and more users are turning to these platforms for coronavirus updates.

Flixed, in its latest study, revealed that about one-in-six Americans currently use YouTube as their primary coronavirus news source. At the same time, Facebook continues to be the number one, followed by Twitter. A creative strategist on Flixed’s project, Matt Gillespie, states that according to their research, people are spending an additional 15 minutes a day on consuming news during the coronavirus crisis.

According to Charles King of Pund-IT, a tech industry analyst, YouTube situations do not surprise him and that a lot of bad actors or organizations or even states have been using the internet to spread misinformation.

YouTube is expanding its fact-checking efforts to stop the spread of misinformation. King also explained that social media companies, including Google-owned YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, are increasingly being required to take steps to stop the spread of false information across their respective platforms.

In these times of ‘too much information,’ increased time spent on consuming coronavirus related news is taking a mental health toll on people. Flixed study shows that increased consumption of news during the pandemic is worsening the mental health of users.

According to Flixed research, 57.6% of users who spent increased time on Reddit experienced overall worsened mental health, while only 22.6% said that reading more about the coronavirus improved their mental health. Flixed found that limiting the amount of screen time, particularly COVID-19 related content on social media platforms, can result in enhanced mental health conditions as 43% of people who defined the consumption of coronavirus news reported improved mental health conditions.

But one of the problems people face is that there is a desire to use social media during the lockdowns as most people are in isolation. Gillespie said that people who consume a limited amount of news related to the coronavirus reported improved mental health as compared to those who set no limits. Pund-IT’s King stated that turning off the screen requires a particular amount of willpower, and if unplugging results in a better mental health state, cut the cord.

Read next: Report Shows The Comparison Of The Usage Of News Sources And The Extent To Which Consumers Trust Them
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