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Social media such as Facebook can trigger so-called technostress
Social media such as Facebook or Instagram are hard to imagine without many people. Not only children and teenagers often spend many hours on it. This can also have an impact on health. Social media can trigger so-called technostress. But instead of disconnecting, some users simply switch from one function to another.
As the Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU) writes in a current release, social media such as Facebook and Instagram can trigger so-called technostress. But instead of using the platform less or not at all, some people simply switch from one function to another and thus elude the causes of the stress without leaving the medium on which it was created. Scientists from the British Lancaster University, the University of Bamberg and the FAU have found this out. The results were published in the "Information Systems Journal".
Stressed seek distraction within the social network
The researchers examined the habits of 444 Facebook users. As soon as activities such as chatting, scanning news feeds and publishing updates became stressful, some of them switched to another activity within the network. This behavior in turn increases the likelihood that users will develop a "technology addiction" because the various features of the platform will be used over a long period of time.
So users are looking for distraction within the social network as a coping mechanism for stress, which was triggered by this instead of ending the activity and doing something else.
"Even if this contradicts intuition, social media users remain on the same platforms that burden them instead of leaving them, which blurs the line between stressful use and compulsive use," explains co-author Monideepa Tarafdar, Professor of Information Systems and Co-Director of the Center for Prospective Technological Studies at Lancaster University Management School.
Compulsive and excessive behavior
"Because social networks offer such a wide range of functions, they can be both a stress factor and a distraction for users," says business information scientist Dr. Christian Maier from the University of Bamberg, who shared the data of the Facebook users with Prof. Dr. Sven Laumer, Schöller Endowed Chair for Information Systems, especially Digitalization in Business and Society, the FAU.
“Even if these people are stressed out by social media, they use the same platforms to deal with this stress. They shift their activities within the networks and ultimately build compulsive and excessive behavior. As a result, they dig deeper into the platform instead of detaching from it and become dependent. ”
The researchers examined various forms of techno stress that are caused by social media. Users felt that networks penetrate their personal lives, adapt their use to that of their friends, are exposed to excessive social expectations and a flood of information, and are faced with constant changes and updates.
Users encounter technostress in two different ways
It was shown that the study participants encounter technostress through social media in two different ways. The obvious way: switch to activities outside of social media. This group of people disengaged from the platform, spoke to others or the family about their problems and spent less time on the network. The other way, however, was to use other offers within the social platform and thus possibly become dependent. This behavior was particularly shown by those participants who used the platform more regularly.
“We noticed that the people who are more intensive social media users were more likely to switch to a different offer on the platform in order to avoid the stress and therefore stayed within the network rather than disconnecting themselves. The more someone uses social media, the greater the likelihood that they will also use it to distract them from stress and in this way perhaps develop a dependency on the platform, ”says Prof. Sven Laumer.
The expert added: “Users go to different areas of the platform that they see as separate and that they use in different ways. Facebook has very different functions and offers - and all on the same platform. The possibilities range from chatting and posting pictures to online games. ”Prof. Monideepa Tarafdar adds:“ The idea of using the same environment that causes the stress as a means of coping with this stress is new. It is an interesting phenomenon that seems to be characteristic of techno stress caused by social media. ”
Previous scientific studies have shown how great the risk of becoming dependent on social media. Scientists from the USA reported on a study that came to the conclusion that media like Facebook or Twitter can almost act like cocaine in the brain. (ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg: Social media stress can lead to social media addiction, (accessed: September 10, 2019), Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg
- Information Systems Journal: Explaining the link between technostress and technology addiction for social networking sites: A study of distraction as a coping behavior, (Access: 10.09.2019), Information Systems Journal