US psychologists claim social media 'increases loneliness'
Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest are causing more people to feel alone, according to US psychologists.
A report suggests that more than two hours of social media use a day doubled the chances of a person experiencing social isolation.
It claims exposure to idealised representations of other people's lives may cause feelings of envy.
The study also looked at those using Instagram, Snapchat and Tumblr.
It's important to remember what you see on social isn't necessarily the reason for you feeling bad - but it might be a factor.
Put simply, it might just heighten the emotions you're already feeling.
"We do not yet know which came first - the social media use or the perceived social isolation," co-author Elizabeth Miller, professor of paediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh, said.
"It's possible that young adults who initially felt socially isolated turned to social media. Or it could be that their increased use of social media somehow led to feeling isolated from the real world."
Theories in the report suggest the more time a person spends online, the less time they have for real-world interactions.
Usage can also encourage feelings of exclusion, such as seeing photos of friends enjoying an event to which you have not been invited.
The team questioned almost 2,000 adults aged 19 - 32 about their use.
Professor Brian Primack, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said: "This is an important issue to study because mental health problems and social isolation are at epidemic levels among young adults.
"We are inherently social creatures, but modern life tends to compartmentalise us instead of bringing us together.
"While it may seem that social media presents opportunities to fill that social void, I think this study suggests that it may not be the solution people were hoping for."
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