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posted by LaminatorX on Friday January 16 2015, @07:14AM   Printer-friendly
from the now-now-now dept.

One of the more prevalent memes in modern day life is that digital technology — like round-the-clock email and friends’ envy-inducing Instagram photos — is stressing us out and making us unhealthy. Now Claire Cain Miller reports at the NYT that a recent study has found the opposite: Frequent Internet and social media users do not have higher stress levels than those who use technology less often. “The fear of missing out and jealousy of high-living friends with better vacations and happier kids than everybody else turned out to be not true,” says Lee Rainie.

The survey of 1,801 adults asked participants about the extent to which they felt their lives were stressful, using an established scale of stress called the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). One unexpected result of the study is that women who frequently use Twitter, email and photo-sharing apps scored 21 percent lower on the stress scale than those who did not. That could be because sharing life events enhances well-being, social scientists say, and women tend to do it more than men both online and off. Technology seems to provide “a low-demand and easily accessible coping mechanism that is not experienced or taken advantage of by men,” the report said. "Just as the telephone made it easier to maintain in-person relationships but neither replaced nor ruined them," concludes Miller, "this recent research suggests that digital technology can become a tool to augment the relationships humans already have."

 
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  • (Score: 2) by davester666 on Friday January 16 2015, @07:39AM

    by davester666 (155) on Friday January 16 2015, @07:39AM (#135309)

    Stress isn't due to the technology we have. It's primarily due to work. The ever increasing workload, partially enabled by technology [but mostly enabled by forcing more working hours] is what is causing most stress.

    Because we simply must have higher profits. Not just turn a profit, but the profit must be higher each and every quarter. Otherwise there is no point to the work.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 16 2015, @08:04AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 16 2015, @08:04AM (#135312)

      For me, its having the technology monitor me, relentlessly documenting my every move and preparing dossiers on me for management.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 16 2015, @09:49AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 16 2015, @09:49AM (#135322)

      At my workplace, 40% of the critical equipment is non-functional, while much of the remaining equipment is in various states of failing.

      There's no need to replace it in a rush, according to the CEO, because we're dealing with it just fine.

      It's just a pity that our primary funding is being reviewed right now, and they're looking at the quality of our work with no understanding that our boss is a cheap prick.

    • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Friday January 16 2015, @01:16PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Friday January 16 2015, @01:16PM (#135354)

      And also highly relevant, since the discussion is about connectivity, are those bosses that now expect you to be focused on work every waking hour (and sometimes even non-waking hours), because it is possible to get your work email on your smartphone. For example, one boss very publicly berated me for failing to answer emails promptly at 10:30 PM on a Saturday and texts at 2:30 AM on a Wednesday, and at just about every other time imaginable (and this was at a job that swore up-and-down when they hired me that they had no expectations of on-call duties). Needless to say, I switched jobs shortly after that.

      But yes, that's a lot more stressful than some random picture of a somebody's cat.

      --
      The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
    • (Score: 2) by gallondr00nk on Friday January 16 2015, @03:06PM

      by gallondr00nk (392) on Friday January 16 2015, @03:06PM (#135376)

      Right. It's a matter of context. The steam engine didn't intrinsically make our lives more stressful, but I bet there were a fair few factory workers who would have disagreed.

      Actually, that's the greatest myth about Luddites. We use the term meaning people who are wholly opposed to development and technology, when at the time actual Luddites weren't interested in destroying all technology (such as the hand looms they made their living from), they wanted to wreck the machinery that made their lives a misery - such as the factory looms that were destroying their living.

      I don't see how a study can make the blanket claim that technology doesn't increase stress. It's a matter of circumstance.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by q.kontinuum on Friday January 16 2015, @09:30AM

    by q.kontinuum (532) on Friday January 16 2015, @09:30AM (#135319) Journal

    Those without stress have more time to waste on twitter, instagramm, facebook, posting on web-forums and other crap. While others are stressed by different phone-calls, business-mails, instant messages and whatnot.

    --
    Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
    • (Score: 2) by hoochiecoochieman on Friday January 16 2015, @03:17PM

      by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Friday January 16 2015, @03:17PM (#135379)

      Those without stress have more time to waste on twitter, instagramm, facebook, posting on web-forums and other crap. While others are stressed by different phone-calls, business-mails, instant messages and whatnot.

      The latter's time is as wasted as the former's. The level of stress is the only difference.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by MrGuy on Friday January 16 2015, @11:57AM

    by MrGuy (1007) on Friday January 16 2015, @11:57AM (#135339)

    One of the more prevalent memes in modern day life is that digital technology — like round-the-clock email and friends’ envy-inducing Instagram photos — is stressing us out and making us unhealthy. Now Claire Cain Miller reports at the NYT that a recent study has found the opposite

    "One of the more prevalent memes you hear from dieticians is that oveating - like eating three hamburgers for lunch or eating too many carrots as a snack - is causing obesity. A new study finds the opposite - carrots aren't unhealthy after all!"

    Many, many people complain about connectivity to their working lives, like text messages from colleagues, e-mail at all hours that they feel compelled to respond to, out-of-hours "wherever you are" calls to be stressful. It's the "never being able to really leave the office, because the office lives in your pocket" that's stressful.

    Instagram and Twitter live on the same device in your pocket. But, in general, PEOPLE DO NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT INSTAGRAM BEING STRESSFUL. It's not connectivity in general that people complain about. It's specifically the WORK RELATED connectivity.

    I'm not surprised that social media users don't feel stressed about social media. They're social media users because they enjoy being social. It's an opt-in thing. Work related stuff is the stuff that feels like you can't opt-out of.

    If you want to try to prove that connectivity stress is a myth, study the connectivity that's reported to be the STRESSFUL KIND. Study whether people who frequently answer work e-mails out of hours or on weekends feel more stressed. Equally easy to study, and actually relevant to the point you're trying to make.

    • (Score: 2) by q.kontinuum on Friday January 16 2015, @12:21PM

      by q.kontinuum (532) on Friday January 16 2015, @12:21PM (#135341) Journal

      For most parts, I agree. Instagramm, Twitter and Facebook are not the problem. But I wouldn't restrict the problematic part to work-related stuff alone (even though that's the biggest part). For me the distinction is synchronous vs. asynchronous communication, where I count WhatsApp as synchronous because due to the received- and read- notification to the sender, the sender often does expect an immediate reply. Being technically reachable for synchronous communication puts us in the dilemma to

      • either tell the sender that our current surroundings are more important (which will probably misunderstood, when the sender is wife, husband, parents, kids or -of course- the boss)
      • or be ready to interrupt our immediate social life anytime anyone wants to contact us remotely

      Both sucks and can create a lot of stress.

      --
      Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
    • (Score: 1) by Synonymous Homonym on Friday January 16 2015, @12:23PM

      by Synonymous Homonym (4857) on Friday January 16 2015, @12:23PM (#135342) Homepage

      If you want to try to prove that connectivity stress is a myth, study the connectivity that's reported to be the STRESSFUL KIND.

      It is not just connectivity, but automation increasing workload and pace for the remaining workers in general.

      However, people who like to think of the children claim that said children are frequently stressed out from overuse of their cell phones, texting each other even in class.
      In my not so humble opinion, it is the parents that are stressed out with their progeny not respecting the poorly informed opinions of their elders, and the teachers who compare poorly with Wikipedia.
      Whatever the facts, the claims have been made, and this study addresses exactly those, so will summarily be ignored.

      Councelling for internet addiction is a business, after all.

    • (Score: 2) by JeanCroix on Friday January 16 2015, @02:34PM

      by JeanCroix (573) on Friday January 16 2015, @02:34PM (#135371)

      It's not connectivity in general that people complain about. It's specifically the WORK RELATED connectivity.

      Every once in a while, SN reminds me that working in my particular industry has its distinct advantages. Pretty much zero work-related contact outside of business hours for me...

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 16 2015, @03:50PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 16 2015, @03:50PM (#135391)

    By analogy, people who avoid exercise aren't stressing their muscles, which avoids short term discomfort but is probably not a good long term strategy.

    Spending lots of time surfing the web and texting does not sound stressful, but in many cases it's avoidance of life and work.