Social Media Overload: The Link Between Burnout and Loneliness

BRUSSELS, July 5, 2024 — Spending too much time on social media can lead to feelings of burnout and loneliness, especially among women, according to a comprehensive European report. The “2024 Stada Health Report,” which surveyed 46,000 respondents across 23 countries, reveals that social networks significantly contribute to mental exhaustion and loneliness, particularly for younger generations.

Women Feel More Lonely and Burned Out

The report finds that women are more likely to feel lonely and burned out compared to men. While 57% of women report feelings of loneliness, only 46% of men do. Similarly, 65% of women experience burnout, compared to 54% of men. This indicates that women are more negatively affected by frequent social media use.

The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health

Social media plays a crucial role in causing mental exhaustion. Among those who spend the most time on these platforms, 68% experience burnout, compared to 53% of those who use social media less frequently. This is particularly alarming for young people aged 18 to 34, with 69% reporting familiarity with burnout despite their relatively shorter time in the workforce or educational settings.

Appearance and Social Pressure

Women are also more critical of their own physical appearance due to social media. About 51% of women think they are overweight, and 38% constantly compare themselves to others online. In contrast, men are less concerned about their weight, with only 28% considering it important and 21% feeling social pressure.

Loneliness and Screen Time

The feeling of loneliness is closely linked to high social media usage. Among 18- to 35-year-olds, 63% report feeling lonely, compared to 41% of those aged 55 and over. This is particularly concerning as the younger demographic spends more time on screens. For instance, 41% of those under 34 spend long hours online, compared to 22% of those aged 35-54 and only 13% of those over 55.

Other Factors Contributing to Loneliness

Despite the clear connection between social media use and loneliness, only 20% of young Europeans attribute their loneliness to excessive social media or video game use. More significantly, 27% attribute their loneliness to work, while 15% blame remote working and childcare responsibilities. Additionally, 14% point to the loss of a loved one, and another 14% cite relocation for professional reasons.

Childcare Responsibilities Weigh Heavier on Women

The report also highlights that childcare responsibilities contribute more to women’s feelings of loneliness than men’s. About 16% of women attribute their loneliness to childcare, compared to just 8% of men. This underscores the additional emotional and psychological burden women face.

In summary, the “2024 Stada Health Report” sheds light on the significant impact of social media on mental health, particularly for women and younger people. While social media can be a way to connect, its overuse can lead to feelings of burnout and loneliness. Therefore, it’s essential to find a balanced approach to social media use to maintain mental well-being.