Photo by Kev Costello from Unsplash

We all know that during the lockdowns, social media became our lifeline to the outside world. But did it really help our mental well-being? Well, it turns out, not as much as we thought.

A recent study from the University of Hong Kong took a deep dive into this issue. They looked at data from over 16,000 people in the UK during various phases of the pandemic. And guess what? The results might make you raise an eyebrow.

Despite all those Zoom calls, WhatsApp chats, and Facebook messages, anxiety and depression levels didn’t show much of a difference between heavy users and those who avoided these platforms. Yep, you heard that right. Our virtual hangouts didn’t quite fill the void left by the lack of in-person socializing.

And young adults who amped up their social media game during the pandemic actually saw their mental health take a hit. Those 20-year-olds who rarely touched social media before suddenly found themselves feeling 10 percent more anxious and depressed when they went all-in on the online social scene.

And it’s not just about the digital world. Financial strain during lockdowns also played a big role in people’s mental well-being. Those who felt the financial pinch had anxiety and depression levels a whopping 25 percent higher than those who didn’t.

Social media helped us stay connected, but it didn’t magically cure our pandemic blues. And for some young adults, it even made things worse. It’s a reminder that while technology can be a lifeline, it’s no substitute for real, in-person connections.