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Study Shows One in Three People Have Felt Overwhelmed by Communications Technology

05 июля 2011

An international study, led by the University of Cambridge, has found that a third of people have felt overwhelmed by communications technology, including texting, email and social networking, to the point that they feel they need to escape it.

Despite most families seeing communications technology as a positive tool, a survey conducted as part of the study revealed that feeling overwhelmed by communications technology is similar for adults and children, with 38% of 10 - 18 years old claiming to feel this way and 25 - 34 year olds not far behind, with 34% of that age group feeling overwhelmed.

Furthermore, the survey of 1,269 people and in-depth interviews with families in the UK revealed that those people who have frequently felt overwhelmed are also more likely to feel less satisfied with their life as a whole. Conversely, those who felt in control of their use of communications technology were more likely to report higher levels of overall life satisfaction.

The research shows that children in the UK still prefer to communicate face-to-face, dispelling the myth that they only communicate via technology or are losing the desire and ability to participate in in-person interactions. Moreover, 65% of those surveyed in the UK cited face-to-face conversation as their preferred method of communication. This was actually found to be almost the same for both adults (65%) and children (64%).

The study found that many people are consciously controlling their use of technology with 36% of adults and 43% of young people (aged 10 - 18) taking steps to limit usage. Just under half (42%) of adults and children surveyed have prioritised reducing usage of social networking sites, this was followed by a reduction in sending text messages (20%), and then emails (19%).

Professor John Clarkson, director of the Engineering Design Centre at the University of Cambridge and Principal Investigator of the study, believes that those families who had better understanding of their use of communications technology in general appeared to have a more balanced and positive relationship with technology.

He said: "Communications technology is changing the way that society interacts and now, with the explosion in personal communications devices, WiFi and increasing broadband speeds, is a great time to start charting this change. There is much discussion about whether communications technology is affecting us for the better or worse. 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."

As part of the research, 63 families from across the world kept a weekly diary of their hour-by-hour use of communications technology. Interestingly, many decided to make changes to their behaviour after filling out the diaries.

Sarah Jones, mother of four from Newmarket commented after the study: "The weekly diary of communications was an eye opener for me and my family. It made me realise that I actually spend more time online than I thought. As a result, I have taken steps to reduce time spent online and, for example I now don't turn the computer on until lunchtime. "

In addition to the UK, the study also covered the US, Australia and China.

Источник: Cellular news

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