BYU-Idaho students have completed a new study linking social media use to loneliness.

Robert R. Wright, director of the health psychology emphasis in the BYU–I Psychology Department, told that the study found as social media time increased for participants, so did “depressive symptoms,” including feeling blue, lacking motivation or having a hard time sleeping.

“The main message here is that we need to use social media wisely,” Wright said.

The study has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Technology in Behavioral Science. It included 579 BYU-I students who filled out online surveys reporting on the time they spend each day on social media and their social outcomes, according to

The study found that on average, women—single, engaged, or married—consistently reported much more time on social media than men.

“Similarly, women reported being more lonely than the men,” Wright said.

Wright said the take-home message is the less time someone spends on social media, the healthier they’ll be – physically, mentally and socially.