The study in question asked 200 school children a variety of questions about Facebook and found that 12 per cent of respondents felt anxious about it. When questioned further it was revealed that much of the discomfort caused by social networking sites stems from fear of rejecting another, with 32 per cent of those surveyed admitting that rejecting friends led to feelings of guilt.
According to Dr Richard Graham, a technology addiction consultant, the impact of multiple alerts, pictures and messages can all have a negative impact on our neurology, by making us feel stressed.
Graham has previously helped to set up the Technology Addiction Service at the Capio Nightingale Hospital in a bid to understand more about social networking, texting and gaming addictions.
‘The brain might be trying to adapt but it has a way to go yet, before it might be able to process that level of stimulation’, he said.
There is mounting evidence to suggest that stress, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, inability to concentrate and long term effects on the way the brain develops in young people are all side effects of social networking addictions, though more evidence is needed to confirm these findings.
If you are finding yourself on social networking sites more often than you’d like then continue reading for some useful tips on how to cut down:
No more than 30 minutes per day – Try out Freedom at macfreedom.com which allows you to turn off the internet and not turn it back on again for up to eight hours.
There are lots of similar programmes which offer a similar service. Anti-Social for instance blocks time wasting sites and SelfControl lets you blacklist sites and set a timer for how long you would like to block them for.
Reduce your alerts – Do you really need an alert to let you know about every single birthday of your 500 friends? Probably not. Go into your account settings and turn of the alerts for email notifications.
Delete your apps – If you have an app for every social networking site on your iPhone, Blackberry or Android then get deleting. Nothing on a social networking site is going to be so important that it can’t wait until you sit down at your computer at home.
Deactivate your account – Sounds frightening but sites like Facebook allow you to deactivate your account so people know you’re no longer using it but keep it stored away so you can put it back online in the future.
For information about how counselling and psychotherapy could help you to overcome internet addiction please view our fact-sheet to find out more, or to contact a counsellor or psychotherapist in your local area please use the search tool located on the homepage of this site.
The original article ‘Don’t let your Facebook get you down’ by Octavia Walker is featured in last weekends Sunday Mirror Magazine.