A recent study conducted in South Korea has found that using smartphones for over 4 hours daily could have harrowing effects on the mental and physical health of teenagers.
The survey conducted by Jin-Hwa Moon and co from South Korea’s Hanyang University Medical Center revealed that those adolescents who had a habit of prolonged use of mobile devices daily exhibited signs of higher levels of stress, and obesity. They were also likely to develop suicidal thoughts and take substances. The research was published on December 06, 2023, on PLOS ONE Journal.
Many theories have been out there regarding the effects of smartphone use on our health. One of them is the possible radiation harm from cell phones. However, the general impacts of using smartphones for hours are also discussed in length. Past research has associated possible risk of psychiatric disorders, eye-related concerns, anti-social behaviors, etc. However, some have theorized that moderate use of the internet and mobile devices could have benefits for adolescents.
To better understand the correlation between health issues and smartphone use among teenagers, Moon, and his colleagues analyzed data from over 50,000 participants in the Korean Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey gathered in 2017 and 2020.
The researchers thoroughly conducted their analysis including participants’ daily number of hours spent on smartphones, and health issues they faced or didn’t. They also ran a propensity score to establish if other factors contributed to their research such as age, gender, socioeconomic status, etc.
The results: Effects of using smartphones on teenagers
The researchers found that 85.7% of teenagers used a smartphone for over 2 hours per day increasing from 64.3% in 2017. Notably, the group of participants who spent 1-2 hours on a smartphone every single day showed no physical or mental health issues.
But the table turned when the duration exceeded more. Those who had a daily smartphone screen time over 4 hours displayed a higher risk of anxiety, and were more likely to take substances and have suicidal thoughts.
Should you be concerned?
This specific study doesn’t objectively establish a thesis that the overuse of smartphones may have health consequences. However, there’s also a general census that using a mobile device for a long may have some adverse effects. Still, the study could inspire some sort of awareness among users. More particularly, if you feel that you are a smartphone addict (Check out our guide to know if you are a mobile phone addict), you may feel a need to reconsider your pattern of using such devices for the better. As the authors wrote, “These results can help establish smart device usage guidelines and education programs for appropriate media use,” it’s good to take into account the duration of time we spend on a smartphone and if it’s having effects on our physical and mental well-being.
How much is too much in terms of spending time on a smartphone? Do you think we should shrug off the potential effects of using mobile phones or there’s is real logic to look into it? Do share with us what you think about it in our comment section below.
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