Smartphones have become an inseparable part of life for some and while they are immensely useful there are drawbacks of these gadgets that are slowly coming to light including them being a source of stress in our lives.
According to a report by American Psychological Association (APA), constant smartphone use a common thing among Americans with four out of five adults in the US (86 per cent) report that they often check their email, texts and social media accounts. Scientists say that this compulsion or need to check their smartphones constantly is associated with higher stress levels.
The excessive technology and social media use has paved the way for the “constant checker” – those who check their email, texts and social media accounts on a constant basis.
Researchers urge people to take a digital detox as that would prove to be one of the best ways to manage stress that crops up from use of technology. The survey 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 do not check as frequently. Among employed Americans who check their work email constantly on their off days, their reported overall stress level is even higher, at 6.0, the report said.
The survey was conducted online in August last year, among 3,511 adults aged 18 an above living in the US by Harris Poll on behalf of the APA.
It’s not only working professionals who could be affected by this kind of stress. Parents too are feeling the pressure when it comes to balancing their children’s technology use when it comes to familial interactions, the report said. While 94 per cent of parents say that they take at least one action to manage their child’s technology usage during the school year, such as not allowing cell phones at the dinner table (32 per cent), or limiting screen time before bed (32 per cent), almost half (48 per cent) say that regulating their child’s screen time is a constant battle, and more than half of parents (58 per cent) report feeling like their child is attached to their phone or tablet.
Additionally, almost half of parents (45 per cent) say they feel disconnected from their families even when they are together because of technology, according to the report. More than two in five constant checkers (42 per cent) say that political and cultural discussions on social media cause them stress, compared with 33 per cent of nonconstant checkers.