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Imagine what would happen to your life if you reduced your social media usage by just 15 minutes a day. Well, a group of researchers at Swansea University in Wales did exactly that. As part of a scientific research project, they examined the social media usage habits of 50 different participants (all between the ages of 20 and 25) with the goal of seeing what would happen if they were told to reduce their daily social media use by just 15 minutes a day.
Why social media users need to adopt the 15 minute rule
Since it was a scientific research project, the group of 50 participants were divided into three different study groups. One group was told to reduce their social media use by a target goal of 15 minutes a day. One group was just told to reduce their social media usage, without any time guidelines imposed on them. And one group acted as the “control group” – they weren’t told anything, just that the researchers were interested in their social media usage over time.
The results might surprise you. The group that was told to reduce their social media usage by 15 minutes per day actually found the results so worthwhile that they decided to up that figure to an average of 40 minutes per day. The control group ended up increasing their social media usage by an average of 10% per day. And the group that was told to reduce their social media usage (without any specific time guidelines) seemed to rebel entirely. Instead of reducing their social media usage, they actually boosted their usage by 25 minutes a day!
What lessons can we draw here? Well, one clear takeaway is that there must be some clear physical and psychological reasons why the participants decided to decrease their social media use by a whopping 40 minutes each day. That’s like asking someone to lose 15 pounds in weight, and that person coming back in a month and telling you, “Hey, it felt so good, I decided to go for 40 pounds.”
Another takeaway, say researchers, is that telling someone to quit social media entirely might backfire. Nobody likes to be told what to do, and that includes being told to reduce social media consumption. Thus, parents looking to curtail social media usage of their kids should think twice before using certain types of messages or approaches. Simply telling someone to stop doing anything doesn’t always work. If you have kids, you can appreciate the accuracy of that statement!
The upside of less social media
But let’s focus on the really important lesson here: there are clear gains to be made from reducing social media use. As the researchers found, a simple 15-minute rule had amazing consequences. General health, as measured by factors like sleep quality, actually improved by 50%! And total immune function, as measured by the tendency to come down with the common cold or the sniffles, actually improved by 15! Finally, feelings of depression and loneliness appeared to decline by 30%!