Technology has improved life for many Americans; about half of American’s adults said they can’t imagine life without their smartphones. At the same time, plentiful studies have described the consequences of technology use, including negative impacts on physical and mental health.
The American Psychological Association’s Stress in America survey has examined how stress affects American adults’ health and also how technology and social media have a link to stress, relationships and overall health and well-being:
- Almost all adults (99%) own at least one electronic device (including a television). About 86% own a computer, 74% own an internet-connected smartphone and 55% own a tablet.
- The percentage of American adults using social media increased from 7% to 65% between 2005 and 2015 and this rate is higher among adults ages 18 to 29.
- 43% of Americans are considered as “constant checkers” — those who constantly check their emails, texts or social media accounts; this attachment to devices and the constant use of technology is associated with higher stress levels for these Americans.
- 18% of Americans identified the use of technology as a very or somewhat significant source of stress.
- 20% of Americans also said technology causes the most stress when it doesn’t work.
- Constant checkers also reported a higher average level of stress related to technology during the past month than their non-constant checking peers.
- 65% of Americans somewhat or strongly agree that periodically “unplugging” or taking a “digital detox” is important for their mental health. However, only 28% of those agree about the importance of a detox actually report doing so.