For better or worse, social media is a consistent—oftentimes, persistent—part of our everyday lives. And while it’s a useful tool for networking and meeting new people, it can have a negative impact on our existing relationships.
A 2015 Pew Research study found that 65 percent of American adults and 90 percent of young adults aged 18-29 used social media daily. Other studies show that other media forms—like TV, movies and music—also influence our attitudes and behaviors.
A study conducted by Larry Rosen, a psychology professor at California State University, found that the more people socially interact in the virtual world, the more their individual behaviors and attitudes will be altered to reflect this activity. Rosen’s study also suggests that excessive use of social media can cause anxiety, depression and loneliness. Moreover, certain emotions and attitudes can be altered by virtual relationships.
Having positive, secure relationships fosters feelings of connectedness—and that can be difficult in the digital world. In this hyper-connected age, it’s important to maintain a healthy balance between virtual and real-life relationships. Here are four ways to keep social media use in check: