Technology Overwhelms One In Three

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A third of people feel so overwhelmed by communications technology that they are desperate to escape it

One in three people have felt so overwhelmed by communications technology they have considered giving it up, according to a study led by the University of Cambridge.

Just under half (42 percent) of adults and children surveyed have prioritised reducing usage of social networking sites, followed by a reduction in sending text messages (20 percent), and then emails (19 percent).

The survey also reported that nearly one in five people use communication technology for more than seven hours per day.

Researchers concluded that those who have frequently felt overwhelmed by technology are more likely to feel less satisfied with their lives while those who felt in control of communications technology were more likely to report the opposite.

Face-to-face versus cyberspace

However, despite another recent survey revealing parents’ concerns that children could become addicted to Facebook, 64 percent of children still prefer face-to-face communication.

As part of the research, 63 families from across the world kept a weekly diary of their hour-by-hour use of communications technology. Many were dismayed at the level of time logged prompting changes in behaviour.

“Communications technology is changing the way that society interacts,” said Professor John Clarkson, director of the Engineering Design Centre at the University of Cambridge and Principal Investigator of the study.

“The research has shown that communications technology is seen by most as a positive tool but there are examples where people are not managing usage as well as they could be – it is not necessarily the amount but the way in which it is used.”

BT, which sponsored the study, claimed that steps should be taken to manage the family use of communications technology in a positive way. It suggested keeping a diary of use in the household  and centralising computer use to mean that families are at least using technology together.

Surveys were carried out with 1,269 people as well as in-depth interviews with families in the UK.

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