Just five minutes on social media is enough to make you miserable, study finds


LESS than five minutes spent on social media can be enough to make you miserable, research shows.

People who scroll down Twitter or watch YouTube quickly find their mood ruined when they stumble upon bad news.


Research Finds Spending Less Than Five Minutes On Social Media May Be Enough To Make You UnhappyCredit: Shutterstock

Experts at the University of Essex have found that people who saw bad news related to Covid while on social media experienced an “immediate and significant” reduction in happiness.

It could happen in just two to four minutes, they said, but if people looked for posts that showed acts of kindness, 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 information on social media can ruin a person’s mood.

“We would all do well to be aware of these effects and consider balancing our doom scroll with benevolent scroll.”

The study, published in the journal PLOS One, asked 1,000 people how they felt after reading or watching Covid news on social media.

Getting information on Twitter or YouTube, they found, was linked to a drop in positivity and made people less optimistic.

And that was still true when they initially logged in to watch something else, but stumbled upon some negative stories.

The researchers added, “Research shows 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 ten times as much time each day interacting with Covid-related news, this probably offers a conservative estimate of the emotional toll. “

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