08/04/2014 08:40 am ET Updated Aug 04, 2014

This Video Explains The Actual Reason You Can't Put Down Your Phone

In our technology-obsessed world, it can be hard to feel connected to the people we care about without constantly checking our smartphone screens. Our networks are now more expansive and more frequently updated -- but what about our communities? Does frequent use of social media ruin our real life relationships?

It's a common question, but the answer might just be a little more complex than we were expecting.

In a recent BrainCraft video, host Vanessa Hill digs in with the help of Emily Eifler of fellow YouTube channel Blink Pop Shift.

Hill cites a number of articles and studies that seem to suggest excessive technology negatively affects our relationships, including one that found a high correlation between increased Facebook use and feelings of envy.

But that's not the whole story, Hill says. Different people use social media differently, and their behavior online tends to mirror their behavior in the real world, creating something of a feedback loop.

One study she cites found that people who already have increased levels of attachment anxiety will try to reach out to their partners via their phones, thereby increasing their attachment both to their partner and to their phone. Their phones didn't make them anxious, but they did help to express that anxiety.

Social networks "don't ruin relationships. They're tools that enable your behavior, whether that's good, or bad," Hill says.

"We're not so much addicted to our devices as we are to each other and the quantization of those interactions," adds Eifler.

Translation? You're not excited about those little red Facebook notifications because of the platform they're on, but because your friends are showing they care about you. Even if they're showing it digitally.

Maybe these social networks aren't so bad after all.

If you're interested learning more about the studies Hill discussed, she provides a list in the video description on YouTube.