Whether we like it or not, but today smart phones have become widespread. Despite the many positive moments that gave us smartphones, people are still concerned about the potential harm of overuse. Especially when it comes to children and adolescents. In 2018 in the UK 95% of young people aged 16 to 24 owned a smartphone, compared to 29% in 2008. However, along with the increasing use of smartphones, recent research has shown that mental health of young people in this age group have deteriorated markedly.
What problems can occur due to excessive smartphone usage?
Scientists from king’s College London have performed the first systematic analysison “problematic use of smartphones,” in children and young people. Researchers have identified the problematic use of smartphones as behavior resembling addiction — for example, feelings of panic, when phone is not nearby, or spending too much time using a smartphone, often to the detriment of other cases. Based on these results, the researchers concluded that a quarter of children and young people show signs of dependence on smartphones. Despite the fact that previous large-scale studies have not identified links between the use of the smartphone and the harm to mental health, the notion that smartphones are addictive, is still relevant.
However, scientists often come to conflicting conclusions. This is partly due to the fact that in many studies, computers and smartphones but United by the generic term “screen time”. Because of this, the researchers were able to overlook the fact that the damage often comes from how we interact with technology, not with some gadget. So, watching TV is very different from bullying in social networks. Some studies have only measured the total duration of time spent in front of the screen, and not the impact on people interactions with certain applications and sites. A group of scientists from king’s College London decided to analyze the results of studieson the use of smartphones by teenagers and young people. They wanted to find information about the incidence of behavioral dependence on smartphones, as well as the prevalence of such behavior in this age group. In the course of work, the researchers analyzed 41 work published in Asia, Europe and North America since 2011. In total, they reviewed the responses 41 871 adolescents and young adults aged 11 to 24 years. Experts have determined that the Central features of behavioral addiction include:
- A strong desire to use a smartphone;
- Spending more time than expected;
- The emergence of anxiety and panic if the phone is discharged;
- Neglect of other more important things for smartphone.
To determine that the young person is experiencing problems with the use of a smartphone, it needs to experience at least two of the above symptoms. The results of the analysis showed that from 10% to 30% of adolescents and young people showed two or more signs of dependence.the subjects were asked various questions in most cases the dependence is not dependent on the duration of smartphone use, and certain patterns that indicate a correlation: for example, feelings of panic, when phone is not nearby. Furthermore, the results of studies on the impact of smartphones on mental health showed that members of the group “addicted” were more likely to report depression, anxiety and problems with sleep.
However, the obtained data is not fully reliable. The fact that in contrast to the results of clinical studies, the responses of the subjects themselves may be inaccurate. Before to speak with confidence on the subject of smartphones, you must prove that dependence causes substantial harm, in contrast to the conventional use of the gadget. Despite the fact that further research is needed, these results demonstrate that the problematic use of smartphones is common and probably due to the deterioration of mental health of adolescents and young people.