Teens Who Use Phone Excessively Are More Likely to Consider Suicide: Study

On The Messenger, Sheila Baylis reports on a new study indicating serious mental health impacts of excessive phone use on adolescents and noting an increase in recent years:Ā 

ā€œTeenagers who are on their smartphones for more than four hours a day have a higher risk of mental health issues, including thoughts of suicide and substance use, a new study suggests.

Researchers in Seoul, South Korea, analyzed data on more than 50,000 teens from an ongoing survey that was initially established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They found that teenage smartphone use is increasing, and that these behaviors are linked to health issues.

Using the Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey, researchers found that 85.7% of teens used their phone for at least two hours each day, up from 64.3% in 2017. More than half of the students used their phone for more than four hours per day in 2020, a jump from 30.6% in the previous survey.

The study, published Wednesday in PLoS One, found that teens who used the phone excessively were 66% more likely to report substance use than their peers. These teens were also 22% more likely to report suicidal ideation and 16% more likely to say they were stressed out.

The scientists, from Hanyang University Medical Center, noted that they were unable to determine if excess smartphone usage contributed to these health issues, or if adolescents who have trouble regulating their emotions and behavior also have trouble balancing smartphone use.

The data included the approximate number of daily hours each teen spent on a smartphone as well as various health metrics about stress, sleep, depression, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, obesity, alcohol use and smoking.

Although researchers found adverse health outcomes after four hours per day of smartphone use, they warn that many factors are at play, not just the number of hours spent, including age, what the teen is using the phone to do and other cultural factors.ā€

Article ā†’

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