Stress is something most people will experience during their lives at multiple stages. (Baum, 1990) defines stress as an emotional experience of predictable changes in physiological and behavioural changes.
Social media could represent a distraction from a task and any distraction from a task could result in to an attentional conflict, which may then elevate stress level (Baron, 1986). There are various theories as to why social media use may cause stress.
- Highlight Reel – Highlight reel is the collection of the best and brightest moment. It is likely for a young adult to struggle with insecurity because they compare their behind the scenes with others highlight reel.
- Social Currency – Just like euros or pounds, currency is the value we attribute to services. But on social media, the likes, comment and share has become a form of social currency by which youth attribute value and a large part of social media is projecting a self-image that receives some sort of social currency. Projecting a positive self-image for some social media users can lead to what is known as Public Self Consciousness (PSC). A study conducted to provide insight into the trend of social compensatory friends on social media and their relationship with PSC, the result showed that there is a negative association between self-esteem and the number of friends on social media platforms.
- Fear of missing out (FoMo) – this is an actual societal anxiety from the fear that one is missing out a potential connection, activity or opportunity. It is suspected that social media and regular use of smartphones are primarily related to FoMo so much that a study of Canadian universities found out that seven out of ten students would deactivate their social networking accounts if not for the fear of being left out. (Algonquin College, University of Ottawa & Carleton University, 2013).
- Online Harassment – Indeed, social media and frequent smartphone use among young adults are believed to be related to unlimited harassment and online bullying among peers. Bullying is now believed to be taking place in a new territory, online.