Smartphones are now causing young adults stress, anxiety and even depression
Study reveals smartphone addiction or problematic smartphone use is a real thing and it negatively affects the mental health of children and young adults.
It’s hard to imagine a life without smartphones these days. They make life so easy and help us stay connected and entertained 24x7. However, overuse of smartphones has been connected to various health problems that range from text neck and disturbed sleeping pattern to trigger thumb.
Now, a meta-analysis published in BMC Psychiatry, a peer-reviewed journal, shows that smartphone addiction or problematic smartphone use is a real thing and it negatively affects the mental health of children and young adults.
Dr Ben Carter, the lead author of the study and senior lecturer of Biostatistics at King’s College, London, explained the extent of the problem in his study. He wrote that about one in every four children and young adults has problematic smartphone use and as a result, suffer from depression, anxiety and even suicide ideation. If not controlled in time, it may have grave implications on their life long health.
The meta-analysis included 41 studies (three cohorts and 38 cross-sectional ones) comprising 41,871 participants across Europe, Asia and America. More than half (55%) of the participants were females.
Communication or internet use to get peer acceptance was one of the most common types of problematic smartphone use and the affected group included teenagers between 17 years and 19 years. Males with problematic smartphone use spent more time on games and other media applications while females spent more hours on social media. Children in the higher socio-economic groups were more likely to get addicted to smartphones than those with a low family income.
The most common problem associated with these cases was depression. Those with problematic smartphone use also had some level of anxiety, poor sleep quality and stress. However, the evidence is not as strong for suicide ideation and poor educational performance.
Impulsive people, perfectionists, those who have poor self-control or are emotionally unstable are more prone to problematic smartphone use.
A modern problem
Since smartphones became widely available in 2011, their use has increased significantly among children. Though a lot of researchers warn about the psychological effects of excessive smartphone use, there is an opposite sect that says it is not as harmful as portrayed.
In his study, Carter explained the possible reason for these differences: he wrote that most of the studies that couldn’t confirm the negative effects were done before smartphone use became prevalent. Problematic smartphone use, he explained, is just like any behavioural addiction: people with problematic smartphone use experience withdrawal symptoms if the smartphone is taken away from them, and they continue to use the phones regularly despite the apparent harm it causes them. However, since smartphones are socially accepted, the overuse is often neglected and is difficult to control. Also, for an unknown reason, females are more prone to problematic smartphone use than males.
Regardless, problematic smartphone use is a huge public health concern - much larger than alcoholism or gambling addiction. It needs to be clinically addressed to reduce the burden of mental health conditions on the healthcare system.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information on a possible complication from using expired or bad makeup, please read our article on Depression: Stages, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment.
The information provided here is intended to provide free education about certain medical conditions and certain possible treatment. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, treatment, and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. If you believe you, your child or someone you know suffers from the conditions described herein, please see your health care provider immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself, your child, or anyone else without proper medical supervision. You acknowledge and agree that neither myUpchar nor firstpost is liable for any loss or damage which may be incurred by you as a result of the information provided here, or as a result of any reliance placed by you on the completeness, accuracy or existence of any information provided herein.
The nutritionist has written that consuming a mix of cashews and Ashwagandha powder can help you reduce stress and get a good night’s sleep
The Mahanadi river and its tributaries are constantly swelling up with heavy rainfall increasing the water level at the Hirakud dam to 620.12 feet, just 10 feet less than the reservoir's full capacity, 630 feet