Will Ugandans fall into a similar trap as the Americans?
Over-exposure to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp has been found to be a major source of stress among people.
A 10-year study by the American Psychological Association (APA) has found that since the emergence of smart phones, people who report heavy reliance on social media outlets, experienced significant increases in stress.
“A decade after the emergence of smartphones, Facebook and Twitter, more than four out of five adults in the U.S. (86 percent) report that they constantly or often check their email, texts and social media accounts,’ APA said in a statement, adding that: “This attachment to devices and the constant use of technology is associated with higher stress levels for these Americans.”
Titled: “Stress In America: Coping With Change,” the study examined the role technology and social media play in American stress levels.
The study drew a direct link between stress levels and people who reported to be constant checkers or being tied to social media. 43 percent of Americans who said they check their emails, texts, or social media accounts constantly, also reported significant increases in their stress levels.
“On a 10-point scale, constant checkers reported an average stress level of 5.3. For the rest of Americans, the average level is a 4.4.” And again, the category of constant checkers also reported that political and social discussions were the source of the spike in their stress levels.
The tense political atmosphere in America that ended in the election of controversial property mogul Donald Trump as President of the United States, has been associated with a significant jump in stress levels. The study found that between August 2016 and January 2017, 57 of respondents of all political shades said the US political climate was a very or somewhat significant source of stress.
Social media use in America has skyrocketed from 7 percent of American adults in 2005 to 65 percent in 2015.
The increase in social media use has been even more dramatic for the young adults; “For those in the 18-29 age range, the increase is larger, from 12 percent to a whopping 90 percent,” the study adds.
About 42 percent of constant checkers specifically point to political and cultural discussions as causing stress. And the impacts play out in real life—35 percent of constant checkers say they are less likely to spend time with family and friends because of social media.
The study also found that 65% admitted to the problem and were willing to unplug from the devices.
The rapid spread of smart phones in Uganda raises similar health scares especially among Uganda’s youth. But the new American Study could, fortunately help to forestall the problem from reaching worrying levels as witnessed in America.