New study reconfirms people’s inability to switch off from technology

January 9th, 2014

A recent study which found that high achievers are at risk of conditions like anxiety and depression due to their inability to switch off the internet and stop working outside of office hours, highlights the fine line between healthy and unhealthy use of modern technology, say Anxiety UK. The study, reported in The Telegraph this week, echoes findings from an Anxiety UK study in 2012 into the mental health consequences of too much technology use.

The Anxiety UK study found that over half of respondents who regularly use social networking sites saw their behaviour change negatively. Further investigation revealed factors such as negatively comparing themselves to others, spending too much time in front of a computer, having trouble being able to disconnect and relax, as well as becoming confrontational online, thus causing problems in their relationships or job.

The study also found that 45 per cent of people who are not able to access their social networks or email feel worried or uncomfortable as a result. And perhaps most surprising, 60 per cent of respondents said that they felt the need to switch off their mobiles/computers/Smartphones in order to have a break, with one in three of them saying they switched off several times a day.

“We were surprised by the high proportion of people who found that the only way to ensure a break from the demands of life was to switch off their phone or computer, as they were not capable of simply ignoring them,” explained Nicky Lidbetter, chief executive of Anxiety UK.

“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. Our findings, as well as those reported in The Telegraph, suggest that some may need to re-establish control over the technology they use, rather than being controlled by it.”

If you are feeling overwhelmed or are experiencing anxiety and stress and would like support, please ring the Anxiety UK helpline on 08444 775 774 or click here to find out how Anxiety UK can help.