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Mental health and technology

  • Today, we can barely imagine our lives without a laptop or smartphone. We work, shop, bank, and interact online more than ever. It’s time we faced it — the technology we interact with has a tremendous influence on our mental health and directly affects the way we feel, think, and act.

Facts about digital anxiety and stress

FOMO and other social media anxieties

  • FOMO, or the “fear of missing out”, describes the feeling of worry or anxiety that you are missing out on an exciting experience and that others are leading better or more interesting lives than you. It is a social media phenomenon that can cause significant fear and anxiety in our daily lives. FOMO is often amplified by social media and the “highlight reel” effect, when people compare the mundane and less-than-glamorous aspects of their daily lives with the highlights their friends post on Facebook, Instagram, or other social media sites. Such comparisons can make us feel inferior and hopeless.

The goldfish effect

  • People have become exceedingly reliant on smartphones for both information and entertainment. It’s true that our phones and social media supply a wealth of information, but they also tend to overload our senses. The problem is that information overload causes forgetfulness and fatigue, shortens our attention span, and makes us feel more and more goldfish-like. Recent studies have found that our ability to concentrate for prolonged periods of time is shrinking. The resulting goldfish effect causes trouble memorizing and learning, which in turn makes us more susceptible to anxiety and stress.

Fake news

  • As our lives migrate online at an increasing pace, it’s not surprising that we have more and more access to a variety of news sources. Navigating this modern-day news cycle can be taxing and anxiety-inducing, to put it mildly. We are bombarded with news every day, yet, with so much information at our fingertips, it’s becoming hard to differentiate between what’s true and what’s not. Concerns about fake news are growing, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and are seriously affecting our mental health.

Cybersecurity

  • Our lives are slowly but surely becoming more digital by the day: we work, shop, and entertain ourselves online. Naturally, cybersecurity is at everyone’s forefront in one way or another these days. Keeping our digital selves secure is important, but can also be a source of anxiety. According to research, people often suffer from anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder when their personal details are exposed online.

Facts about password stress

Password reset loop
According to research, more than 30% of people feel that recovering or resetting a lost password is very stressful and can be compared to becoming unemployed. Losing an important password without the ability to restore it is even more stressful and anxiety-inducing. More than two-thirds of respondents noted that this situation is comparable to being laid off.
Too many passwords
As we spend more time online, it’s natural that most of us have far too many passwords to remember. A recent survey revealed that having to memorize long, complex passwords induces similar stress levels to thinking about contracting COVID-19.
Forgotten accounts
With the large amount of available online services it comes as no surprise that people forget about the accounts they’ve created and the passwords associated with those accounts. This only adds to digital anxiety, as people feel that their lost accounts can be appropriated and used for cybercriminal activities like identity theft.

Stress management tips
for your digital well-being

Set up your device for a stress-free experience

Disable vibrations and sounds for app notifications.
Enable bedtime mode to lower smartphone use at night.
Manage your alerts to avoid notification overload.
Use time management apps to limit your screen time.

Cybersecurity tips

Keep your personal information secure and avoid suspicious emails, text messages, or phone calls.
Reduce digital anxiety with a password manager like NordPass.
Keep your online activities private with a VPN, such as NordVPN.

More resources about digital mental health

Check these videos for further useful information.

7 signs of the dark tetrad personality

  • What is the dark tetrad? In psychology, the dark tetrad is an evolution of the dark triad personality traits, which include narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. Now added to this list is sadism. These four traits are believed to serve as the core of humanity’s dark side. Are you ready to be mind-blown and learn about humanity's dark side?

Useful helpline and support contacts

Reach out to any of these organization in case you need professional support.

NHS mental health services

  • Free mental health help available 24/7 provided by professionals. Get support for you, your child, your parent, or someone you care about in case of an emergency.

Samaritans

  • Available 24/7 to provide confidential emotional support for people facing feelings of distress, despair, or suicidal thoughts.

Reduce digital anxiety with NordPass

  • It's free. No credit card required.