Tuesday, 12 Dec 2017

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Smartphone addiction harmful to teen’s mental health: Study

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Health Desk—3rd Dec’17: Is your teenager addicted to smartphone? Are they always active in checking, sharing contents or watching videos? Then you should be worried because a new study found that smartphone addiction can alter your child’s brain chemistry that predisposes them to depression and anxiety.

A group of researchers from Seoul’s Korea University carried out the study, which was led by neuroradiology professor Hyung Suk Seo. The research found that 82 percent of Americans own or can use a smartphone, 92 percent are likely to use it while shopping, 78 while eating at home, and 44 while crossing the street. Moreover, according to a Pew Research Center survey, 73 percent of teens have access to a smartphone, and 92 percent of them say that they go online every single day.

Dr. Hyung Suk Seo, of Korea University, warns that there's more danger in this addiction than just the potential of wasting a lot of time sharing memes and viral videos. In fact, teens who are addicted to their phones and the Internet have a chemical imbalance in their brains that predispose them to depression and anxiety.

Nineteen youths – nine male and ten female with a mean age of fifteen and a half – were compared with healthy control subjects of the same gender. Twelve of the group received cognitive behavioral therapy, based on a similar program designed to help people addicted to video games.

Standardized tests helped the scientists determine how severe each subject’s addiction was. They were quizzed on how their usage affected their day-to-day activities, ranging from social life to sleeping pattern.

The teenagers who were addicted to their smartphones and the internet were found to have higher scores for tests that tracked depression, anxiety, the severity of insomnia, and their impulsivity

For reducing this addiction turn off your phone at certain times of the day, such as in meetings, having dinner, playing with your kids, and of course, driving. Remove social media apps, like Facebook and Twitter from your phone, and only check-in from your laptop. Don't bring your cell phone and it's harmful blue light to bed; use an old-fashioned alarm to wake you. And last, try to replace your smart device time with healthier activities such as meditating or actually interacting with real people.