Take A Digital Detox: Constantly Checking Social Media Can Drive You Insane


Tech Times reported on Feb. 17 that politics is a major stressor among Americans and, considering the many drastic changes the United States is still experiencing due to the Donald Trump administration, the stress is undeniable, especially for minority groups whose rights are quickly being revoked.

In this age of connectivity, one would think that always being connected and reachable would prove valuable but, as with everything in human life, anything in excess is bad for the body. For many Americans, being constantly connected takes a toll on their mental health and this is reflected in a survey carried out by the American Psychological Association and released on Feb. 23.

We already know that one's social media activities can tell a lot about a person but did you know that it can also indicate just how stressed a person truly is?

According to APA's survey, people who constantly check their social media experience a greater level of stress than those who do not check their profiles as frequently.

Some 3,511 adults, aged 18 years and older, living in the United States participated in an online survey conducted by Harris Poll for the APA in August 2016. On a 10-point scale, 1 indicates the lowest level of stress and 10 means an individual feels the highest level of stress. Respondents who were constant checkers were found to experience more stress.

"[The] average reported overall stress level for constant checkers is 5.3, compared with 4.4 for those who don't check as frequently," APA reports.

However, the report also noted that, those who frequently check their work emails even on their days off were an even more stressed group of people, averaging 6 on the 10-point scale.

"[While] technology helps us in many ways, being constantly connected can have a negative impact on both their physical and mental health," APA's Associate Executive Director for Practice Research and Policy, Dr. Lynn Bufka, said.

Moreover, participants who are also parents revealed that they are frustrated with how their children seem to be addicted to their smartphones and tablets and feel that the technology is making their families more disconnected.

The participants are also conscious of the fact that social media has negative effects and 42 percent of the constant checkers in the sample were aware and worried about social media's effects on their mental health.

Dr. Bufka recommends taking a digital detox to constant checkers. That is, constant checkers should take some time away from social media and unplug their gadgets to focus on their well-being, and this could start with placing limits on one's social media presence.

The APA published the reports of the study in two parts and you can find both in the Stress in America webpage.

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