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42% Americans would give up TV, pet, car before giving up social media, survey shows

Survey by Paris-based The Reboot Foundation finds that over 70% of Americans would delete all their social media accounts for $10,000 or more while 20% would do it for $1 million.

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New Delhi: Forty two per cent of Americans would give up their TV, pet or even cars before giving up their social media accounts, according to a survey by The Reboot Foundation released Monday.

Based in Paris, The Reboot Foundation conducts surveys, opinion polls, research and supports the work of independent scholars.

With a sample size of 1,010 respondents from across the US, the survey also found that over 70 per cent of Americans would delete all their social media accounts permanently for $10,000 or more, while 20 per cent would do it for $1 million.

This, despite respondents saying they are aware of the detrimental effects of social media. 

“Despite the general acknowledgement that social media is contributing to symptoms of poor mental health, a significant percentage of people still aren’t willing to stop scrolling or to put down their screens,” states the survey.

More than half of respondents said their social media use intensified feelings of anxiety and made it hard for them to concentrate. Twenty per cent also described their social media use as somewhere in the range of “unhealthy”.

The survey was conducted through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) from 3-14 March 2021. MTurk is a crowdsourcing website for businesses to hire remotely-located online workers to perform discrete on-demand tasks like filling out a survey.

The sample consisted of 44 per cent female, 55 per cent male and 1 per cent non-binary participants who ranged from 18 to 78 years in age. Around 66 per cent of participants had completed a bachelor’s degree or higher. 

The survey’s margin of error was +/- 3 per cent. 

For 60%, social media use increased amid lockdowns, pandemic 

The survey found that the pandemic “has accelerated our use of social media, of course, making us far more likely to be on Twitter or Facebook”. 

It found that over 60 per cent of respondents said their social media use had increased since the onset of Covid-19 lockdowns. Around half of respondents said they spend more than two hours a day on social media and 12 per cent said they spend more than four hours a day. The data indicates that Americans spent an average of 82 minutes a day on social media in 2020, up from 75 minutes in 2019.

Only a third of Americans take steps to limit social media use 

Asked if social media was helpful or damaging to their thinking about contemporary issues, roughly 30 per cent of respondents said it had been “somewhat helpful” and 46 per cent indicated that social media had “somewhat increased” the diversity of the news they consumed.

However, 20 per cent thought it had been “somewhat damaging” and 5 per cent indicated it had been “very” or “extremely damaging”.

Despite these findings, only about a third of respondents reported taking steps to limit their social media use like deleting or suspending social media accounts, turning off their phones or limiting content on their feeds. 

Also read: Facebook launches new initiative to tackle child abuse content, two days after NCPCR notice


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