Social media decreases stress, study says

Nadia Monaco 

Life Reporter

Constantly checking your social media accounts may be a good thing for people, according to a new study.

There has been plenty of talk about technology taking over people’s lives and causing higher levels of stress. However, a Pew Research Center survey found that frequent users of social media did not have increased stress levels.

“I can see how feeling connected and having people there generally, makes us less stressed,” said James Nielson, Humber College professor of Technology and Social Change.

Adelia Rosati, a recent graduate of Ryerson University, said her long hours of homework left her extremely lonely but being logged on to Facebook while studying or writing essays made her feel as if she wasn’t actually alone.

“Seeing a notification while I was doing my homework would get me excited and it just made me feel involved with the world and that even though I was at home doing homework I was connected,” Rosati said.

However, when social media informs people of stressful events in the lives of family and close friends, it can cause higher levels of stress, according to the survey.

“I would have thought people’s stress levels would be more about themselves and how they are perceived on social media, rather than hearing about someone in the hospital,” Nielson said.

The study done in 2013 by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project and published in January 2015, surveyed 1,801 adults. They found that women felt more stress than men, especially when becoming aware of stressful events in other people’s lives. (Men traditionally underreport stress and other emotional issues).

“Social media and the Internet takes the human experience and replicates it in an online environment. Each person is going to react differently, just as they would in the day to day world,” said Kimberly Presnail, VP of Marketing and Culture at Active International, a corporate bartering firm.

Women who used social media were also reported to have less stress than women who did not have social media accounts.

Presnail said she’s a heavy social media user, not only at work but in her personal life as well, as it’s something she enjoys.