There are now over 3 billion smartphone users globally. In the last few years, however, concerns have been raised over the effects they have on people, particularly kids and teens.
Although a number of studies have explored the potential risks of screen time, the most recent, which was carried out by researchers from the University of Leicester, found that it could be affecting the health of teenagers in a number of ways.
The study found that excessive time on screens was associated with several health problems, including getting less sleep and leading a more sedentary lifestyle with less exercise.
One of the biggest concerns to the researchers was the fact that a high number of young people were using multiple screens at the same time. In terms of overall health, this could result in a significant reduction in their wellness.
What are the risks?
Research shows that teens that spend a lot of time on electronic devices are 71% more likely to show suicidal risk factors. And, 47% of parents believe their child has a smartphone addiction.
Furthermore, many parents are concerned about the content their kids are being exposed to and have called for greater restrictions on social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube.
The researchers in this study found that the impact on users’ physical and mental health show parents and health experts are right to be concerned.
The study analyzed the data of over 800 girls aged 11 to 14. The participants wore devices on their wrists that tracked physical activity and their sleep to measure the risks to their health. Additionally, they were surveyed throughout the study about their mental health.
The researchers found that those that had the most screen time also had lower physical activity and higher BMIs. They also found there were disruptions in their sleep, especially when they used their smartphones after school.
Going forward, the researchers involved in the study hope for further work to be carried out in this area, as screen time could have serious implications for young people.