Health & Fitness

Just how antisocial is social media?

BY MICHAEL ROIZEN, M.D., AND MEHMET OZ, M.D.

King Features Syndicate

Social is a columnist in the Irish Examiner who focuses on social-media marketing, but we bet “she” never imagined that her world of Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter would become, well, so antisocial for some folks.

From nasty, shaming tweets to the stress and anxiety that overwhelms teens with too many Facebook friends (there’s pressure to stay up with it all and make sure you’re as popular as ever), we’ve long warned that obsessing with social media can make users feel isolated, disliked and angry. And now a large study out of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine reveals that the more time 19- to 32-year-olds spend online, the more depressed they are. In fact, those who checked social media most frequently were almost three times more likely to be depressed as those who checked it the least often.

So, which came first: Snapchat or depression? That’s uncertain, say the researchers. But what is certain is that parents need to help teens moderate their social media use; plan family outings; encourage friends to stop over; put aside an hour (or more) a day without gadgets (yes, turn off the Internet). Young adults need to be aware of their electronic link to feeling bad.

Sunshine, fresh air, face-to-face time with friends and family, regular exercise -- hey, maybe all at once! -- are also keys to dodging and easing social-media-related depression. Often, talk therapy and medication are enormously effective when helping a person reclaim their (real world) social life.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.

  Comments