hustle-and-bustle-1738072_1920It’s not just you.  86% of adults in the U.S. say they “constantly check” email, text and social media, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), and it’s just plain stressing us out.

Guilty as charged, your honor.  Bet you are, too.

How crazy can it get?  Think about how many times you touch, click, swipe, or tap on your mobile phone.  Now take that number and multiply it by 10.  Then mutliply that number by 10 again.  If you do that, you might get close to the what a study by Dscout uncovered.  The heaviest smartphone users interacted with their phone 5,427 times a day.  OK, so I don’t feel so bad anymore.  Those people are addicted.

Dscout study

“The average user engaged in 76 separate phone sessions a day. Heavy users averaged 132 sessions a day.” – Dscout research.

The constant checker

The APA study says the easy access to technology and social media has paved the way for the “constant checker” — those who check their email, texts and social media accounts on a constant basis. 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 don’t check as frequently, according to the APA study. Among employed Americans who check their work email constantly on their days off, their reported overall stress level is even higher, at 6.0.

“The emergence of mobile devices and social networks over the last decade has certainly changed the way Americans live and communicate on a daily basis.  Today, almost all American adults own at least one electronic device, with many being constantly connected to them. What these individuals don’t consider is that while technology helps us in many ways, being constantly connected can have a negative impact on both their physical and mental health.” – Lynn Bufka, PhD, APA’s associate executive director for practice research and policy

The Digital Detox

The APA is suggesting a “digital detox” for constant checker.  65% of Americans agree that periodic unplugging is important for their mental health, although only 28% actually do it.

“Taking a digital detox is one of the most helpful ways to manage stress related to technology use.  Constant checkers could benefit from limiting their use of technology and presence on social media. Adults, and particularly parents, should strive to set a good example for children when it comes to a healthy relationship with technology.” – Lynn Bufka, PhD, APA’s associate executive director for practice research and policy

Happy New Year!

Just asking: How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions so far? For many, cutting back on their social media addiction was near or at the top of the list.

About half of Americans count cutting back, or dropping out, of social media is one of their resolutions for 2017, according to data from Treem. How they came up with that number (51%), I have no idea as they don’t list their methodology. But I’ve heard from friends and colleagues, ironically many on social media.

There are a lot of reasons people are cutting back on social media usage:

  • The proliferation of fake news
  • Avoiding work colleagues
  • Avoiding parents
  • Reducing “drama” in their lives
  • “Social envy” of others’ lives

They may be on to something…

A place called “The Happiness Research Institute” recruited 1095 people. Half of the group stopped using Facebook for one week. After just one week without Facebook, the group that abstained reported a significantly higher level of life satisfaction.

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