Gen Z switching devices off to combat stress

Gen Z are spending less time in front of screens in order to combat stress and anxiety, a new study reveals.

A survey of 2,023 UK drivers conducted by Auto Trader, the UK’s largest digital marketplace for new and used cars, revealed that the average adult typically spends 12 hours 35 minutes feeling stressed over the course of a week, while those aged 17-24 spend a staggering 16 hours 6 minutes in comparison.

The research revealed that social media is proving a key cause for stress and anxiety for many of the younger generation, as almost 1 in 4 (23%) admit it has caused them to feel stressed in the last month, compared to just 6% of those aged 45-54.

The addictive powers of social media are clearly having a negative impact on those in this age group who, according to the data, spend 3 hours 10 minutes scrolling through social feeds each day.

The data suggests that as many as 30% of this age group are well and truly hooked and find it hard to stop checking social media, whilst 26% say that spending time on social media before bed affects their sleep.

1 in 4 say the use of social media regularly causes them to compare themselves to others – something which contributes to their stress and anxiety levels.

In order to combat their stress, nearly 1 in 4 (24%) 17-24 year olds will switch off their phone to reduce anxiety, while 20% will take a break from social media completely to relieve their symptoms.

According to Auto Trader’s latest report, Good Carma, psychologist Dr. Sandi Mann confirms social switching off social media can reduce our ability to compare with others and will ultimately reduce our stress levels.

Driving is another method that the younger generation like to use to combat anxiety, as 52% of 17-24 year olds say they have or would consider going on a drive in order to feel more relaxed.

Of those who like to unwind by taking a drive, 45% say that driving in the countryside helps to relax them, while 32% say that the change of scenery whilst driving helps to steady their anxieties.

Other methods to reduce anxiety include exercising (35%), listening to music or a podcast (35%) and getting outside for a walk (34%) for this age group. 

Auto Trader’s Rory Reid comments:

“Social media is such a prevalent factor in people’s lives today, but it’s important to find a balance for using it. Taking some time away from the feeds could actually help to clear the mind and reduce stress. Going for a drive is a great solution, as it keeps our eyes off the screens and focused on the road – creating the necessary headspace to relax, think and watch the world go by.”

Adds Dr Mann, Chartered Psychologist and author of The Science of Boredom:

“Anything that ensures we get a screen break is beneficial as too much screen time can be unhealthy. Social media in particular is a huge driver towards people feeling inadequate because it offers a constant and ever-present opportunity to compare our own lives with those picture-perfect ones of other people.”

To view Auto Trader’s Good Carma full report,  visit



Chris Price