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Social Networking Sites Can Increase Anxiety

Update Date: Jul 09, 2012 04:45 AM EDT
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From time immemorial, it is a common notion that being with friends is perhaps the best therapy for anyone who is going through a low phase of life, and anyone who needs to be pepped up.

Ever since social media has taken over the internet world, it has certainly changed the meaning of the words 'friends' and 'friendship.' While there was a time when friends were the reasons to boost up confidence in people, mingling with a large social group is the reason people feel inadequate these days, says a latest research.

A latest survey has found that social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter feed anxiety. The survey showed that more than 50 per cent people surveyed blamed social media for a change in their behavior and half of those even said that their life had changed for the worse due to same reason.

Mostly, people who reported a negative impact of social networking sites said that it was the comparison between themselves and the achievement of their friends online that caused deterioration of their confidence.

Two-thirds reported difficulty in falling asleep or relaxing after spending time on the sites, while a quarter said they encountered difficulties at work place and relationships after becoming confrontational online, according to Telegraph.

The research also found that internet is addictive with about 55 per cent of people reporting feeling of being "worried or uncomfortable" when they could not access their Facebook or email accounts.

Also, it was found that more than 60 per cent of people switched off their electronic gadgets like phones or laptops several times a day so that they could get a break.

"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," Nicky Lidbetter, the charity's chief executive was quoted as saying by Telegraph.

She expressed surprise at finding that people had to switch their gadgets off in order to get a break and were incapable of simply ignoring the demands of their devices.

"I think one of the key things is that people have begun to behave as though technology is in control of them, instead of the other way round. We can switch the gadgets off but a lot of us have forgotten how to," Dr Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist explained.

According to the findings of a study conducted last year, abstaining from technologies such as mobiles, internet and television can leave people suffering from symptoms similar to those seen in drug addicts attempting to give up.

Scientists found that the majority of participants who were asked to stay away from their gadgets for 24 hours could not even last for that much time without demanding them back.

The survey was conducted by Salford Business School at the University of Salford, for the charity Anxiety UK.

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