We’ve all heard the ‘theories’ about how social media is bad for us.
But for the most part, we tend to brush these concerns off.
After all—when books first started to become popular, even they were said to be the ‘beginning of the end’ for civilized humanity!
Well, as it turns out, social media may actually be a bit worse for us than some people think it is.
Or, at the very least, it’s tied to some pretty powerful indicators of poor physical health.
According to a new study that was recently published by the University at Buffalo, social media use has been tied to poor physical health in a number of ways.
According to the study, it has been linked to “biological and psychological indicators associated with poor physical health among college students.”
But what exactly are these indicators?
Well, the first one is this:
Research participants who used social media excessively were found to have higher levels of C-reactive protein in their systems.
This is basically a biological marker that shows the existence of chronic inflammation, and can be a predictor of serious illnesses like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancers.
But that wasn’t the only indicator found during the study.
The study also suggested that higher social media use was also linked to other somatic symptoms. Some of these included headaches, chest pain, and back pain.
People who used social media more often also tended to visit the doctor more frequently for the treatment of illness.
What Does All Of This Mean?
At first glance, it would appear that social media is just bad for you.
But we obviously need to dig a bit deeper and unpack the causation behind the study before pointing specific fingers at our favorite social platforms.
Last time we checked, the specific action of logging into your social media account didn’t necessarily send a jolt of dark magic through your body and increase your odds for disease.
Rather, it probably has more to do with a complex array of social and physical compounding factors.
It’s more likely that the types of activity these types of people (people who use social media a lot) tend to participate in is more likely to lead to negative health outcomes.
For example—if you scroll through a social media feed for four hours per day, it’s highly likely that you’ll be sitting while you do it. And thus, that could explain a small part of the poor health indicators—because sitting is actually pretty bad for your overall health and wellness.
(This isn’t necessarily what the study said. We’re just extrapolating.)
To finish things off, here’s an excerpt from the study conclusion, which seems to summarize it pretty well.
“The present study found that social media use is associated with multiple indicators of physical health. Given the prevalence of social media in daily lives and the importance of social relationships to physical health, we call for additional research to examine the relation between social media use and physical health by utilizing diverse methodologies.”
The study, titled Social Media Use and Its Link to Physical Health Indicators, appeared in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.