Is social media stressing us out?

By: Tiffany Ditto 

Social media users may experience higher levels of stress than non-users, according to a study released this week by the American Psychological Association.

The study asserts that higher engagement with technology causes users to feel more stressed, and brings in to question the impact Americans let social media have on their lives.

The participants in the study were divided into to two categories, constant checkers and non-constant checkers. Constant checkers are those who often engage in social media at work, and have work e-mails that keep them online. Non-constant checkers are those who use social media and the Internet daily, but do not feel the need to keep up with everything happening online.

“More than two in five constant checkers (42 percent) say that political and cultural discussions on social media cause them stress, compared to 33 percent of non-constant checkers. Additionally, 42 percent say they worry about negative effects of social media on their physical and mental health (compared to 27 percent of non-constant checkers),” according to the APA study.

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Percentage of users who report being stressed because of technology.| Photo credit: The American Psychological Association 2017 Stress in America Study. 

 

In addition to feeling higher levels of stress, the study found that a higher percentage constant checkers reported feeling disconnected from their families (44 percent, versus 25 percent for non-constant checkers).

In the age of constant connectivity, Americans should question the role technology plays in their lives. In 2016 as many as 78 percent of Americans had a social media profile.

In a world where we are all constantly connected it can be a challenge to turn off, tune out, and unplug. However, if anything can be learned from the APA’s study it’s that in order to be healthy we have to step away from the buzz and relax.

As many as “65 percent somewhat or strongly agree that periodically ‘unplugging’ or taking a ‘digital detox’ is important for their mental health,” the study reports.

Constantly worrying about the next thing Trump will tweet or about the latest e-mail from your boss on your day off isn’t healthy. Although stepping away can be scary at first the health benefits one will reap from the process are worth it. If you need help, here are some places many Americans cut out technology:

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Photo Credit: The American Psychological Association 2017 Stress in America Study 

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UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism