We prefer to scroll quickly through our Instagram feed, whether it’s a push message here or a Whatsapp message. As the Internet and smartphones have had permanent places in our lives for a long time, so has the smartphone. According to the “Digital Report 2022”, around 72 million Germans were online regularly last year.

According to a VOCER Institute for Digital Resilience, the younger generation is particularly affected by their own media use. The study found that the increasing number of posts on current crises is causing young people aged 14 to 29 to disconnect from social media.

Stephan Weichert (co-author of the study) explains the phenomenon in a interview with Deutschlandfunk Kultur. “Many people struggle with the crisis news, and can’t really find peaceful. The excessive consumption of digital media can lead to News fatigue. 60% of respondents stated that Instagram, for instance, triggers negative emotions in them.

Social media as a psychological risk factor

Social media isn’t just about putting people in a positive mood. This is not surprising, although it may seem surprising at first. Scientifically, it has been proven that excessive time on Instagram, Facebook, and other social media can be detrimental to our health. Studies have shown that increased media consumption is linked to anxiety disorders and depression.

The University of Montreal conducted a long-term study that followed approximately 4,000 teens for four years. The results showed that the more teenagers spend on social media, they have greater depressive symptoms. Excessive media use can also lead to psychological problems like addiction, self-esteem issues, and sleep disorders.

Germans spend 2.5 to 4 hours per day on their smartphones

What is normal phone usage? Current research shows that smartphone users use their phone between 2.5 to 4 hours per day. This is the average time that an adult spends on their smartphone. But, each person’s level of media consumption can vary. There are signs that warn us of media excess.

You may be comparing yourself to Instagram’s edited photos and becoming more critical of your body.

One quarter of social media users below the age of 30 feel tired, empty, and exhausted after using social media. Another finding from the VOCER Institute study is this. DAK-Gesundheit’s study and that of the German Center for Addiction Issues confirmed that social media is a risk for young people aged 14-24. According to the study, 2.6 percent of young people are already addicted to social media.

There are many benefits to social media.

Social networks can be used to share ideas with like-minded individuals, keep in touch with friends, and to allow for the exchange of perspectives with strangers. As social creatures, it’s not surprising that we are so into it. How can an app be so captivating that it could even harm us psychologically? It is not easy to answer. One, social media can be assumed to increase our basic emotions. If I am already prone to depression, Instagram and Facebook will only make my thoughts more intense.

Social media can be a problem for many reasons. We lose precious time with friends and family when our minds are glued to the digital world. As a result, our brains are exposed to a lot of information. However, our brains can only absorb so much information at once, which leads to stimulus overload, which then causes stress.

According to a study published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, adolescents who use social media are more likely to be overweight, sleep less well and have more bullying experiences. It’s not surprising that spending too much time online can lead to long-term health problems. This is in addition to the fake world we see every day on Instagram.

You don’t have to abandon your smartphone. It’s crucial to maintain a healthy level of media consumption. Media consumption can bring many benefits if it is properly balanced. The smartphone allows us to quickly access emergency help. You can also learn about topics that interest you, share your opinions, and even exchange ideas with others.

What is healthy media usage?

  • How does healthy media consumption work? This question is not a one-size-fits all answer. It depends on each person’s living situation. We have compiled a few tips to help you be conscious about media consumption.
  • Use social media with a pragmatic mind. Instagram influencers love to trick us with their fantasies. We should not compare ourselves to them. Instead, we should remember that we are only looking at a fantasy world.
  • Limit your media usage to no more than two hours per day. Experts recommend that you limit this amount. You can even set time limits in the settings of many providers. Your phone will then tell you when it is time to return to normal life.
  • Do not take your cell phone to bed. Our sleepiness is suppressed by the light from the smartphone. Instead of sleeping, we scroll through the Internet. What about reading a book?
  • You can also put down your smartphone for a few days to detox your brain. Turn off your phone and wait a week.


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