Mothers of young children who spend more time on social media are more likely to report feelings of anxiety than peers who spend less time on social media on average, according to a new study from Deakin University in Australia. As always, it’s important to point out that correlation doesn’t prove causation, meaning that social media doesn’t necessarily cause anxiety.
The researchers polled 528 mothers of pre-school aged children, and found that their levels of self-reported anxiety rose with each additional hour they spent online, with women ages 25-44 twice as likely to report feelings of anxiety as men were in previous studies.
Researchers noted the results of other studies on social media usage, which have “shown that nearly 50 per cent of female Facebook users felt ‘addicted’ to Facebook, 77 per cent reported being online longer than they intend to be, and one quarter lost sleep because of Facebook.” Researchers also speculated that “spent using the computer or device may remove them from other responsibilities such as chores or engaging with their children, which may subsequently lead to feelings of stress and anxiety.”
Last year I wrote about a survey of U.S. parents by Crowdtap, which found that 20% of millennial moms and dads said social media distracts them from family sometimes, while 17% of moms and 10% of dads said it is a source of social pressure, and 11% and 6%, respectively, said it induced information overload.
Back in 2014 a survey of 1,100 moms by BabyCenter found that stress is aggravated by social media, with 60% of moms saying they feel pressure to appear well-to-do on social media, as well as feeling envy and embarrassment because of their own situation compared with others.
Also in 2014, Current Lifestyle Marketing and Impulse Research surveyed 1,004 mothers and found that half said they felt pressure to create an image of a perfect life on social media. That figure rose to 63% for mothers ages 18 to 24 and 60% for mothers ages 25 to 34.