It’s easier than ever to stay in touch on multiple platforms throughout the day, but that 24/7 availability is stressing Americans out. Four out of five adults say they constantly check their email, texts and social media, according to a new report by the American Psychological Association (APA).
The APA polled about 3,500 adults in an online questionnaire during August 2016 and found that people who are always looking at their digital devices—called “constant checkers”—reported higher levels of stress compared to people who spend less time interacting with their gadgets.
The amount of time people spend on social media also appears to be stressing people out. 42% of constant checkers report that social media conversations about politics and culture cause them stress, compared to 33% of people who check less often. Constant checkers also worry about how social media is affecting their wellbeing; 42% say they worry about how social media can impact their mental and physical health, yet only 27% of people who check less often say the same.
This digital obsession also appears to take a toll on families. Almost half of parents say they feel less connected to their family when technology is present, even when they are spending time together. Close to 60% say they worry about the impact of social media on their children’s mental and physical health.
Yet people are finding ways to cut back on the stressful effects of technology. The vast majority of parents, 94%, say they do something to limit their children’s use, like not allowing cell phones at the dinner table or limiting phone use before bed. That’s not always easy, though. Close to 60% of parents say they feel like their child is attached to their phone.
Overall, Americans want to unplug more often. Nearly two-thirds of people surveyed say they agree that taking an occasional digital detox is good for their mental health. However, less than 30% say they actually do so.
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