LESS than five minutes spent on social media can be enough to make you miserable, a study found.
People scrolling Twitter or watching YouTube quickly see their moods ruined when they stumble across bad news.
A study has found that spending less than five minutes spent on social media can be enough to make you miserableCredit: Shutterstock
Experts at the University of Essex found people who saw bad Covid-related news when they were on social media suffered an “immediate and significant” reduction in happiness.
This could happen in just two to four minutes, they said, but if people looked for posts that showed acts of kindness instead they were less likely to end up in a bad mood.
The team, led by psychologist Dr Kathryn Buchanan, said: “Even a few minutes of exposure to Covid-related news on social media can ruin a person’s mood.
“We would all do well to be mindful of these effects and consider balancing our doom-scrolling with some kindness-scrolling.”
The study, published in the journal PLOS One, quizzed 1,000 people about how they felt after reading or watching Covid news on social media.
Getting information from Twitter or YouTube, they found, was linked to a drop in positivity and made people feel less optimistic.
And this was still true when they originally logged on to look at something else but came across negative stories by accident.
The researchers added: “The research demonstrates that as little as two minutes of exposure to negative news about Covid-19 can have negative consequences.
“Given that many people spend five to 10 times the amount of time interacting with Covid-related news each day, this likely offers a conservative estimate of the emotional toll.”