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Is Your Teen Depressed and Not Sleeping Well? Blame The Smartphones

According to a recent study, late night mobile phone use has devastating effects on teenagers' mental health.

Is Your Teen Depressed and Not Sleeping Well? Blame The Smartphones

Late night mobile phone use has devastating effects on teenagers' health.

Smart phone addiction is a growing problem for teens. It has become a necessary evil and most teens end up spending a majority of their time on these smart phones for various purposes. A recent study claims that teenagers who use their mobile phones at night suffer poor sleep and are more likely to be depressed.

Researchers at Griffith University and Murdoch University tracked changes in late-night mobile phone use, sleep and mental health indicators over three years in a large sample of Australian teens.

The process was conducted as an annual survey over four years and included 1,100 students from 29 schools. It started, when the students were in Class 8 of High School and concluded, when they reached Class 11.

It was found that adolescent's late-night mobile phone use was directly linked to poor sleep quality, which subsequently led to poor mental health outcomes, and lower self-esteem. "We have demonstrated how poor sleep is the key link connecting an increase in night-time mobile use with subsequent increases in psychosocial issues," lead researcher Lynette Vernon said.

According to the study 65 per cent of students in Class 8 owned a mobile phone. The percentage increased to 78% by the end of the study. The researchers also investigated adolescent's symptoms of depressed mood, involvement in delinquency or aggression, and their coping and self-esteem over time. The study was published in the journal Child Development.

"We found that those teenagers who start out as relatively 'healthy' in terms of their late-night mobile use early in high school, tend to show steeper escalations in their late-night mobile use over the next several years," said study co-author Kathryn Modecki. "What is especially compelling is that these increases in poor sleep, in turn, led to rises in depressed mood and decline in self-esteem and coping one year later," Modecki added.

The answer to solving the problem is not to simply ban teenagers from using their devices but to find ways of promoting better sleep habits to adolescents.

Excess use of smartphones by teenagers can also lead to:

  • Pain in the hands, back and neck due to poor posture
  • Stress and fatigue
  • Sleep interruption and disruption
  • Greater risk of developing brain cancer from cell phones than adults as their nervous system is still developing.
  • Weight gain
  • Weak eyesight
Also read: How To Get A Good Night's Sleep?

(With inputs from ANI)

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