by Zhanna Kutsenkova
Do I have enough Facebook friends? Enough likes on my profile picture, my Instagram, my Pinterest? Enough reblogs on Tumblr? Enough followers on Twitter? Does this mean anything, or is this all my head?
According to a recent study released by non-profit Anxiety UK, over half of the social media users polled said Facebook, Twitter and other networking sites had changed their lives and 51 percent of those said “it's not been for the better.”
Forty-five percent of respondents said they feel "worried or uncomfortable" when email and Facebook are inaccessible, while 60 percent of respondents stated they "felt the need to switch off" their phones and computers to secure a break from the pull of technology. The real issue may be that society’s reliance on technology is creating more anxiety than the technology itself.
"These findings suggest that some may need to re-establish control over the technology they use, rather than being controlled by it,” says Anxiety UK CEO, Nicky Lidbetter.
According to the Mobile Mindset Study conducted by security app Lookout, 58 percent of U.S. smartphone owners check their phones at least once every hour and a large amount check their phones while in bed or in the bathroom.
If by some chance they were to lose their device, 73 percent of people admit they would feel "panicked" while another 14 percent would feel "desperate."
But are social media users anxious because of social media, or do more anxious people gravitate toward digital interactions?
With more celebrities, as well as self made internet celebrities bringing light to the rampant anxiety disorders that are now actively affecting about 40 million adults in the United States (18-years-old and older), according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety is slowly becoming a more common topic of discussion. This may be an incredibly positive aspect of the expansion of technology - with more knowledge people are able to not only identify the cause or the existence of the anxiety itself, but find helpful resources in dealing with the disorder.
The verdict is therefore unclear - social media may in fact be creating a great deal of anxiety about having a popular online presence, but it may also be highlighting a common, yet previously unspoken about “taboo issue” like anxiety.