What are the effects of social media use on mental health and psychological well-being?
On the one hand, social media use may theoretically confer emotional benefits via connection with others. On the other hand previous studies suggest a correlation between social media use and depressive symptoms.
To answer this question, Primack et alia (2018) surveyed over a thousand American students and asked them about their positive and negative experiences on social media. The researchers also assessed depressive symptoms.
After controlling for such factors as sex, ethnicity, and relationship status, it appeared that each 10% increase in positive experiences on social media was associated with a 4% decrease in depressive symptoms. However, each 10% increase in negative experiences was associated with a 20% increase.
It thus seems that negative experiences online have higher potency than positive ones. To put it simply, they can do both good and bad--but more bad than good, overall.
Source: Primack et alia (2018)