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Using X (Twitter) causes well-being and mental health problems, according to scientists

Researchers from University of Toronto found that the use of Twitter, now referred to as X, negatively affects well-being. This is because it generates an immediate drop in positive emotions and an increase in feelings of anger, political polarization and boredom. Although some users feel a greater sense of belonging, this does not translate into lasting positive emotions. Motivations for using the platform, such as checking news or combating boredom, influence user behavior and its emotional impacts.

A study with 252 users in USA revealed that those who use X to escape problems have a lower overall well-being score and are more likely to feel anger and unhappiness. Frequent users tend to feel more bored and lonely, especially after using the platform. The action most associated with a reduced state of well-being is scrolling the feed, which takes up the majority of users’ time on X.

There has been an intriguing observation that politically polarized users tend to retweet more, and the use of X for entertainment is correlated with a growing sense of polarization. However, interacting with people of different political opinions does not increase individual polarization. The study was carried out before the changes implemented by Elon Musk after acquiring Twitter, although the findings on the passive use and emotional impacts of social media are broadly applicable.

Researchers highlight the importance of intentionality when using social media, suggesting avoiding use when bored or frustrated. In contrast to well-being-enhancing social interactions, X appears to have a significant negative effect on users’ emotions. These findings highlight the need for a more conscious approach to the use of social media, considering the emotional and motivational impacts of its use.

Source: Atrevida

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