HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - In recent weeks, several high profile suicides have put a focus on mental health.
Now, one UAH professor has a study showing a link between increased social media use, and isolation, which can lead to depression.
When Dr. Pavica Sheldon asks students in her social media classes at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) about close friendships the answer is always the same: "'I have 500 Facebook friends, but I do not think I could call any of them if I needed something'."
"Most of those friends are acquaintances," said Sheldon. "We meet somebody once or twice and we add them as LinkedIn or Facebook friends. Most of the time we know very little about them, especially if we are not spending quality face-to-face time with them," she added.
Sheldon, a communications and social media expert is Chairperson and Associate Professor of the UAH Department of Communication Arts.
Is social media the sole blame for nearly half the country feeling lonely?
"A recent study says social media is not the blame," said Sheldon. "Rather, it is the overall culture we live in: spending less time with family and friends and more time with our technological devices. People who do not have friends that they can talk to face-to-face not only feel lonely, but they lack social support. Lack of social support can cause early death," she said.
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