How to stop Smartphones from damaging this generation’s mental health.
Smartphones are damaging this generation’s mental health
A new paper suggests that an increase in mobile phone ownership could have led to a rise in mental health problems in young people. Between 2010 and 2015, the number of US teens who felt depressed surged 33%. Teens suicide attempts increased 23%The number of 13-18 year olds who committed suicide jumped 31%. This happened among teens from every background, race and ethnicity and all around the country.
New paper suggests increase in phone ownership linked to rise in mental health problems in teens
A new paper suggests that an increase in mobile phone ownership could have led to a rise in mental health problems in young people. Research implies this trend is related to smartphone ownership, which exceeded the 50% threshold in late 2012 (when more than half of American teenagers owned a smartphone), right when teen depression and suicide began to increase.
By 2015, 73% of teens owned a smartphone. Teens who spent 5 or more hours a day online were 71% likely to show signs of suicide risk factor.
Today teens spend less time interacting with their friends in person
Whilst interacting with people face to face is one of the deepest wellsprings of human happiness; without it, our moods start to suffer and depression often follows. Teens who spent more time than average online and less time than average with friends in person were the most likely to be depressed.
Since 2012, that’s what has occurred en masse: Teens have spent less time on activities known to benefit mental health such as in-person social interaction and more time online.
Teens are also sleeping less. More smartphone usage also leads to less sleep, posing another major risk factor for depression, and overall health and well-being.
What can you do about it?
- Leave phones outside the bedroom – Use an alarm clock to wake up
- No screen time after 8.30pm – Read a book instead
- More family activities: play a game, paint a picture, play a ball game outside, take a walk
- Meet with friends face to face after school
- Limit screen time to 2 hours per day
- Truly connect during dinner – Ban phones at the dining table
- Fight fire with fire; install an app like Thrive to limit the time spent on your phone
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