Social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Pinterest are causing more and more people to feel lonely.
According to a report, using social media for more than two hours a day can double a person’s chances of being isolated from society.
The report claims that imagining other people’s lives can lead to feelings of jealousy.
Elizabeth Miller, a professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and co-author of the report, said: “This research is about users of Instagram, SnapChat and Tumblr. We don’t know what comes first, the use of social media or the pre-existing trend of loneliness.
“It’s possible that young people who initially feel lonely in society have turned to social media,” he said. Or it could be the overuse of social media that has made them feel lonely in the real world.
According to the report, the more time an individual spends online, the less time they spend interacting in the real world.
Using social media can also increase feelings of expulsion, such as seeing a picture of friends at an event where you have not been invited.
The research team asked about 2,000 people aged 19 to 32 about their use of social media.
“This is an important issue because mental health problems and social isolation are at the level of epidemics in young people,” said Brian Premick, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine.
“We are inherently social animals, but modern life tends to divide us rather than unite us,” he said.
He says: ‘Although it seems that social media provides opportunities to end social isolation. I think this research shows that this is not the solution that people are hoping for.