A study by Salford Business School at the University of Salford showed social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter feed anxiety.
As reported by Laura Donnelly of The Telegraph, more than half of the 298 people polled said their behavior had changed by using such sites, and half of those said their lives had been altered for the worse. Many felt their confidence sapped after comparing their achievements to those of online friends. Two thirds had difficulties relaxing or sleeping after being online for some time.
The research also clearly showed that the internet is addictive – more than half admitted to being worried or uncomfortable when they couldn’t access their Facebook, Twitter or e-mail accounts.
The findings about behavior changes after using social networking sites came from smaller in-depth research which was then carried out by Anxiety UK. Nicky Lidbetter, the charity’s chief executive said:
“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.”
She said the charity was surprised by the high proportion of people who found that the only way to ensure a break from the demands of their devices was to switch them off, as they were not capable of simply ignoring their mobile phones, BlackBerry devices and computers.
Dr Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist said many people suffered increased anxiety because they failed to take charge of the demands being placed on them.
She said: “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. We can switch the gadgets off but a lot of us have forgotten how to.”
Last year, a global study found that turning off mobile phones, avoiding the internet and tuning out of the television and radio can leave people suffering from symptoms similar to those seen in drug addicts trying to go ‘cold turkey’.
Scientists asked volunteers from 12 universities around the world to stay away from computers, mobile phones, iPods, television and radio for 24 hours. They found that the participants began to develop symptoms typically seen in smokers attempting to give up. The majority of those who enrolled in the study failed to last the full 24 hours without demanding their gadgets back.
We warmly recommend to all those jittery addicts to try out both active and quiet meditations…
Be more meditative, become more conscious of your being. Let your inner world become more silent, and love will be flowing through you. People have all these problems. The problems are different – violence, jealousy, misery, anxiety – but the medicine for all these illnesses is only one, and it is meditation.
And I would like you to be reminded that the word medicine and the word meditation come from the same root. Medicine means something that can cure your body, and meditation means something that can cure your soul.
Osho, The Hidden Splendour, Ch 16, Q 3