Your smartphone may be stressing you out

February 23, 2017

 

smarphoneIn the 10 years since smartphones were introduced and social media became popular, nearly nine out of 10 adults check their devices often.

According to a new report from the American Psychological Association, 86 percent of adults surveyed said they “constantly” or “often” check email, texts and social media accounts.

“Today, almost all American adults own at least one electronic device, with many being constantly connected to them,” said Lynn Bufka the association’s associate executive director for practice research and policy. “What these individuals don’t consider is that while technology helps us in many ways, being constantly connected can have a negative impact on both their physical and mental health.”

The American Psychological Association conducted the survey as part of its “Stress in America: Coping with Change” report. It found that stress runs higher, on average, for constant checkers than for those who do not engage with technology as frequently.

On a 10-point scale, where one is “little or no stress” and 10 is “a great deal of 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 said.

Exposure to social media is a stressor, too. More than two in five constant checkers (42 percent) said that political and cultural discussions on social media cause them stress, compared with 33 percent of people who don’t check as often.

APA suggests backing off from smartphone and social media use to feel less stressed.

“Taking a digital detox is one of the most helpful ways to manage stress related to technology use,” Bufka said. “Constant checkers could benefit from limiting their use of technology and presence on social media. Adults, and particularly parents, should strive to set a good example for children when it comes to a healthy relationship with technology

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