Technostress, the new youth pandemic

Technostress, the new youth pandemic


Sleep and concentration problems, irritability, anxiety, lack of motivation and work or academic performance, loss of self-confidence… These are some of the consequences of techno-stress, an alteration related to the abusive use of mobile phones and social networks that psychology treats to give an answer

It is a new addiction that fundamentally affects young people and that in some cases has come to replace other more common until now among this population such as the consumption of alcohol, tobacco or cannabis, as Francisca López Torrecillas explained to EFE, Professor of the Department of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological Treatment of the University of Granada and member of the Mind, Brain and Behavior Research Center.

Although the approach to this alteration of the mental health confronts psychologists with new challenges, given that it is a relatively new type of addiction as it is linked to the appearance of social networks, one thing does seem to be clear: «Unlike what happens with addictions to substances , in which there is a denial of the problem, in these cases there is a more favorable recognition by the person who suffers them».

What facilitates, indicates, the possibility that the person receives treatment for this alteration that, like other mental health problems, have worsened as a result of the pandemic.

As a member of the team in charge of everything related to the mental health of the university community of Granada, López Torrecillas receives students who ask for help for their problems with the networks: “Above all, they indicate that they waste too much time (on them)”.

“More than with WhatsApp, the problem is related to social networks, where you expose yourself and live as in a shop window…”, and since they are usually accessed through the telephone, “it is very difficult to separate the use of the mobile from addiction to networks”, he explains.

This leads to differentiating between three types of alterations: technostress, nomophobia and mobile phone addiction, «definitions of the same problem treated from three different perspectives».

The first is a negative emotional state caused by the excessive use of information and communication technologies, ultimately social networks, and the difficulty of managing these virtual situations.

Nomophobia is an irrational fear of being out of contact with the mobile phone or not being able to use it, and mobile addiction is the maintenance of abusive behavior despite the adverse consequences that it entails.

But all of them have as a common denominator the negative emotions they generate: intense feelings of anxiety, nervousness, anguish, irritability, loss of self-confidence, lack of motivation at work or in usual activities, problems in work and academic performance, conflicts in interpersonal relationships, memory and concentration difficulties or impaired decision-making.

As a consequence, those who suffer from these addictions sometimes end up giving up other activities or, if they continue, they no longer experience them as pleasantly as before, social relationships deteriorate and emotional problems arise.

The recommendations, which according to López Torrecillas are working, are simple: go out to exercise without a mobile phone, create a list of rewarding alternative activities, such as going to the movies with friends or playing sports in a group, resume hobbies or face adversity with “optimism and good humor”.

And consider that daily problems are challenges: “Like waves that sometimes we jump over well and sometimes drag us along, but if we keep jumping over them we will do better and better,” he concludes.

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