Technostress and information overload are serious challenges of the information age. An alarming number of people exhibit dangerously intensive media consumption, while Internet and mobile phone addictions are a widespread phenomenon. At the same time, new media overexposure among young people is understudied, even more so when social network sites are concerned.
This study explores how feelings of overexposure and stress relate to the self-expressive needs of teenagers. It presents and discusses the results of a large-scale survey conducted during an exhibition on media overload in Switzerland. A total of 6,989 adolescents provided answers on their media overload and stress. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression were used to quantify the influence of demographic characteristics on social network site related stress.
While only a minority of 13 percent of respondents feels stressed by social network sites, more than one third has the feeling of spending too much time on such platforms. Age, gender, and language background (French vs. German speaking) shape the overload propensity, with older, male and French-speaking teenagers most at risk for social network site stress.
The study proposes that social divides exist in teenagers’ ability to cope with a specific affordance of social network sites, namely their constant status updates and potential of overexposure. Furthermore, it reflects upon the relation between identity performance and stress.
Originality of chapter
The chapter is one of the first to investigate social network site overload with a broad sample approach, quantifying antecedents of the phenomenon.
Lutz, C., Ranzini, G. and Meckel, M. (2014), "Stress 2.0: Social Media Overload Among Swiss Teenagers", Communication and Information Technologies Annual (Studies in Media and Communications, Vol. 8), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 3-24. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2050-206020140000008001
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