As Wirtz notes, social media plays a fundamental role in how we interact with each other, and it’s replaced much of the face-to-face interaction we once had, especially in the age of COVID-19. But as his research found, we’re often lonelier after using social media, despite turning to it in times of loneliness. The more people used social media in his research, the worse they reported feeling afterwards. And oppositely, Wirtz also found that offline interactions (even phone calls!) enhanced the participants’ feelings of well-being.
“Today, the necessity of seeing and hearing friends and family only through social media due to COVID-19 might serve as a reminder of missed opportunities to spend time together,” he says in a news release.
And on top of that, one particular social media behavior was found to be the most problematic: passive scrolling.
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