Facebook, Twitter and other social networks make people feel anxious and inadequate, a new survey has found.
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In research conducted by the University of Salford for charity Anxiety UK, 53% of people surveyed said that using the sites had altered their behaviour, with half saying it was for the worse.
Many respondents felt that they had been negatively affected by the social networks, particularly due to a loss of confidence after comparing their own achievements with those of other users.
Of the 298 people surveyed, 60% said that their sleep pattern had been disrupted as a result of using the sites, because they found it difficult to relax their minds afterwards.
A quarter of those polled also claimed that they had encountered difficulties in their relationships or work due to their actions online.
The survey further revealed anxiety among people over not being able to access the social networks, with 55% saying they would get “worried and uncomfortable” if prevented from logging in to Facebook or their email.
Over 60% of people said that they could only really have a proper, relaxing break by switching off their electronic gadgets, reports The Daily Telegraph.
Nicky Lidbetter, Anxiety UK’s chief executive, said that she was surprised to see that people only feel they can relax by turning off smartphones or tablets.
She added: “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.”
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, child psychologist Dr Linda Blair said that technology is increasingly controlling people’s lives.
“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,” she explained.
“We can switch the gadgets off but a lot of us have forgotten how to.”
Last year, a study found that people blocked from accessing their phones, the internet and television can be like drug addicts going “cold turkey”.
Scientists deprived volunteers of access to gadgets for 24 hours, and saw symptoms in the people similar to those exhibited in smokers giving up cigarettes.
The majority of people in the experiment failed to last 24 hours without asking to be reunited with their technology.