Millennials and psychology: the effects of social media

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Millennials and psychology: the effects of social media
WATCH: Global's Talia Ricci looks into the potential changes to psychology to those who are constantly connected to their devices. – Feb 14, 2017

WINNIPEG — Today’s technology should have us feeling more connected than ever before; but one therapist says in many ways we are disconnected. When it comes to romantic relationships there are common habits that do more harm than good – such as looking up an old flame when things aren’t going smoothly with your significant other.

“Social media is a way to disengage from a relationship,” Carolyn Klassen, family and marriage therapist said.

“What that does is it pulls you out of being with the person who’s right in front of you.”

RELATED: The good versus the bad: Technology’s place in the lives of millennials

A panel of millennials interviewed by Global News said they’ve noticed the effects of constant phone use with all types of relationships.

WATCH: Panel of millennials answer questions about their generation

Click to play video: 'Talking with millennials about social media and its effect on their generation'
Talking with millennials about social media and its effect on their generation

“We recognize that when we go out for dinner, we need to have that face-time and put the phones down,” Evan Bergen, Red River College student said. Bergen’s wife sitting beside him laughed.

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“He’s on it a lot. And more than I would like. And it does cause tension in our relationship,” Tedi Gilmartin said.

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RELATED: ‘I don’t think it’s fair’: Millennials react to generational stereotypes

Klassen works with dozens of different clients and sees the results of spending too much time on social media, especially when it comes to comparing yourself to what others are doing online.

“It’s very normal to have a life of ups and downs and sometimes there’s not much happening,” Klassen said. “What social media does is it has people share the very lowest and the very highest. We see these points and we think people live in there.”

Millennials admit that constantly being exposed to their social network’s highlight reels does affect how they value their own lives.

“I end up feeling really sad about my life a lot because I see friends travelling and feel I should be doing that too,” Gilmartin said.

However, one of the millennial panelists insists many positive results have come from his use of social media.

“Personally, I’ve found it really helpful in my life. I used social media and the motivation of seeing people transformation stories to lose a bunch of weight,” Taren Gesell, owner of P05t said.

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With shiny screens and releases of dopamine constantly at the tips of their fingertips, Klassen said this hinders the millennial generations ability to relax.

“I think often without realizing it, if we have uncomfortable or painful feelings it’s really easy to numb those feelings or distance ourselves from those feelings by going on social media or checking our phones,” Klassen said.

She recommends that in a time when social media is so prevalent, millennials should try being more deliberate about being mindful. Taking time to slow down, unplug and listen to your thoughts.

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