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Social Media And Anxiety

Social media contributing to anxiety

A study released by non-profit Anxiety UK suggests that social media is having a profound impact on the lives of many, and not necessarily in a positive way. Over half of the social media users who took part in the research said that Facebook, Twitter and other networking platforms had changed their lives, with 51% of those saying it was not for the better.

social media anxiety
Source: nwesinmind.com
Of the poll, 45% said they feel “worried or uncomfortable” when Facebook and email are unaccessible, and 60% of respondents stated that they “felt the need to switch off” their mobile phones and computers to feel as if they could secure a rest period from social media. These kind of results highlight that it is not a case of being on social media that springs feelings of anxiety, but it is being away from networking sites that instills these feelings.

Anxiety UK CEO, Nicky Lidbetter stated: “These findings suggest that some may need to re-establish control over the technology they use, rather than being controlled by it.”

The results of the research revealed some more disturbing signs, as two-thirds of respondents had difficulty sleeping after using social media, and 25% said that their personal relationships were suffering due to “confrontational online” behaviour.

Every piece of research needs to be looked at by the number of participants, and in this case it was very small, as the Salford Business School only used 228 samples. But despite the smaller number, Salford’s data backs up other information on social media addiction. It was also found that 73% of people would panic if they lost their smartphone, whilst another 54% admit to checking their pone every evening “while lying in bed.”

One of the most important questions that the research brings up though is whether social media makes people anxious, or do naturally anxious people gravitate toward social interaction in the digital sphere?

“If you are predisposed to anxiety it seems that the pressures from technology act as a tipping point, making people feel more insecure and more overwhelmed,” Lidbetter says.

social media anxiety
Source: theconversation.com
Similar studies have been conducted across the world as the social media parade grows, and a study from the University of Bergen in Norway measured Facebook user addiction. They found that those with poor sleeping habits were more likely to be obsessed with the most popular social media site, Facebook.

The author of the study, Dr. Ceciilie Schou Andreassen, said: “We have also found that people who are anxious and socially insecure use Facebook more than those with lower scores on those traits, probably because those who are anxious find it easier to communicate via social media than face-to-face.”

The recent studies show that there is at least a correlation between over-consumption of social media and anxiety. With the pressures to lead a successful life in the physical world and the online world, whilst being bombarded with images of unrealistic lifestyles and body images, it comes as no surprise. Unfortunately social media is used as a platform to advertise these unrealistic goals, and whilst there is many positive aspects of entering the digital networking world, it could also lead to a crisis of the self, and only those with a strong psyche may survive online.

Alex is an English Literature and Sociology undergraduate whose love for written word has led him to write about some obscure topics in his time. Currently a content writer at Social Media Frontiers, be sure to follow him @AlexSatSMF.

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Social Media And Anxiety Reviewed by Unknown on Friday, July 04, 2014 Rating: 5
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