Social Media Use and Unhappiness: Part II

November 15, 2021

Louis Tay

Last week, I pointed out the potential problems with using social media - it can reduce our well-being.

How do we reduce social media use, given that it is so pervasive in our lives? I have a few suggestions based on both research and personal experience.

  1. Set a time limit: Past research suggests that limiting social media use to 30 minutes a day rather than the typical amount spent of more than 2 hours can help improve well-being. You can use an App Timer on your phone to set limits each day.
  2. Find accountability: Find a friend who is also interested in limiting social media use to partner in keeping each other accountable. Your accountability friend set passcodes to limit your social media use and access.
  3. Track personal usage times: Identify the times when you tend to spend blocks of time on social media in the day. Is it during your breaks between classes? Or is it in the evenings? Identifying the specific times and scheduling in other social activities, such as having coffee with a friend, group exercise, or playing a game, can help reduce your itch to be on social media.
  4. Go on a social media fast: I have personally found this to be very helpful during my graduate school life when I would not touch social media for long stretches. It helped recalibrate my dependence on social media. Instead, I connected with others through conventional means (email, phone, in-person meetings, text messaging), which led to a greater sense of personal well-being from my own experience.

I hope that these ideas can help you develop a healthier use of social media. And, putting this to practice may lead you to have more time to enjoy the people and things around you!

Be well,

Louis Tay

Tay is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences. He has expertise in well-being, assessments, and data science. Be sure to check back each week for another wellness tip of the week! 

Visit this page to learn more about members of the Research Collaborative

Well-Being  Resources:

Office of the Dean of Students, Student Support Services

Counseling and Psychological Services


To join the conversation and learn more,
use the hashtag #PurdueStepstoLeaps  on social channels:

FB Logo    Twitter Logo    Instagram Logo