hopefully you arent above averageLet’s hope you are not above average, or even average because the average adult in America spends over 2 hours on social media each day (1). If this is true for you, you are spending the equivalent of 32 days a year on social media.

That’s equivalent to over 4 ½ weeks on these platforms each year. This might seem impossible, but if you track your usage it is surprising how quickly it adds up. Even social media proponents would have difficulty justifying the hours spent on them. 

Despite the benefits of these platforms, many believe overusing them is detrimental to our well-being. Since there are limited hours in the day, we must question what we are missing out on while online and ask ourselves if real-life experiences would be better for our well-being.

Let’s consider the value and cost of social media in your life.



It is helpful to get an objective perspective on your social media consumption. The health and wellness website, Balanced, provides a valuable tool. It is the “Are You Addicted to Social Media?” quiz. It provides a framework to consider how much time you spend on these platforms and how they impact your life. 

In my opinion, the guidelines they use to determine problematic social media consumption are far too generous. I am surprised at the amount of time they believe can be healthy. Any answer higher than a “b” would concern me. Please remember that while you read the interpretation of your quiz. You can use the link here to take the quiz. 


Mental Health Considerations

It is fun to connect with the friends we have in real life on social media. When used to enhance existing relationships, social media has been found to reduce loneliness. The same is true when social media is used with the motivation of forging new friendships. (2)  

However, seeing the highlights of people you follow can lead to feelings of loneliness, depression, and fear of missing out. A study of 18 to 22-year-olds at Penn State University found that limiting students' social media consumption to 30 minutes a day led to “significant decreases in both depression and loneliness.” These findings were even more pronounced for those who were more depressed at the beginning of the study. (3) 


Physical Connection

The connection between social media use and loneliness may indirectly impact physical health. A meta-analytic review of loneliness and social isolation found substantial evidence “that individuals lacking social connections (both objective and subjective social isolation) are at risk for premature mortality. (4) 

It found “that heightened risk for mortality from a lack of social relationships is greater than that from obesity, with the risk from social isolation and loneliness (controlling for multiple other factors) being equivalent to the risk associated with Grades 2 and 3 obesity. (4) 

Furthermore, the analysis quotes a report where researchers predicted loneliness will reach epidemic proportions by 2030 unless action is taken. 



Interesting Financial Thought

If the average adult spent the time they were consuming social media working a $25/hr job, they would make an extra $19,253.75 a year. I am not suggesting you switch the time spent on social media to working more hours. It is just an interesting way to look at things. 

How much is your time worth? Would you pay that amount to scroll on Facebook? Is the value you gain worth the cost of your time? Consider these things while deciding how much to interact with social media platforms.


What Can We Do

Social media is here to stay, so we must be intentional in our use of it. Dr. Jeremy Noble, who is on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School and the board of directors of Project UnLonely, encourages us to think about having “snack-sized portions.” 

He explains that “social media use is fine in moderation. But as with any diet that tilts heavily toward foods that lack nutritional value, an excessive intake of social media may be bad for your health.” (5) 

Some practical steps to develop healthy habits… 

  • Take the “Are You Addicted to Social Media?” quiz here.
  • Set realistic time limits for social media on your phone (iPhone instructions, Android instructions.)
  • Monitor your motivation. Get in the habit of asking yourself how you feel before you get on social media and notice why you are getting on the platform.
  • Recognize the impact social media has on you. Do you feel anxious, depressed, lonely, or envious after engaging with it? Or do you feel satisfied, connected, and energized?
  • Ask the people in your life if social media is impacting your relationship. If so, have a conversation to hear their perspective.
  • Create a plan to develop significant “in real life” relationships and experiences.



Remember, saying “yes” to something is saying “no” to something else. Are you saying “yes” to the things you value the most?

Dr. Jamie 


  1. Top Social Media Statistics And Trends Of 2024 – Forbes Advisor 
  2. Loneliness and Social Internet Use: Pathways to Reconnection in a Digital World? - Rebecca Nowland, Elizabeth A. Necka, John T. Cacioppo, 2018 (sagepub.com)
  3. Social media use increases depression and loneliness | Penn Today (upenn.edu) 
  4. PerspectivesonPsychologicalScience-2015-Holt-Lunstad-227-37.pdf (miami.edu)
  5. Does social media make you lonely? - Harvard Health


Math Explained

127 minutes/day ÷ 60 minutes/hour = 2.11 hours/day

2.11 hours/day x 365 days/year = 770.15 hours/year

770.15 hours x $25/hour = $19,253.75 per year

770.15 hours/year ÷ 24 hrs/day = 32 days per year

32 days/year ÷ 7 days/week = 4.57 weeks/year