Smartphone-using Kids May Have Mental Health Issues 2023
A global assessment of 40 nations, including India, found worrying effects for young toddlers given cellphones or tablets. The study implies that smartphone-exposed youngsters are more likely to develop mental health issues as young adults.
Sapien Labs, a US non-profit, collected data from 27,969 18-to-24-year-olds, including 4,000 from India, on May 15. It reads Young people who used smartphones as children had greater rates of suicidal ideation, aggressiveness, alienation from reality, and hallucinations.
Women suffered more.
The study found women are disproportionately affected internationally. 74% of 6-year-old girls using cell phones had major mental health issues as young adults. Its MHQ is “distressed” or “struggling.”
Smartphone adoption at 10 is modest (61%). At 15, it dropped to 52%. 46% of 18-year-olds with smartphones are mentally ill.
Males were affected less.
Males had a similar tendency but less influence. 42% of 6-year-old boys who got their first smartphones were “distressed” or “struggling.” Smartphone adoption at 18 is 36%.
“Age of first smartphone and Mental well-being outcome” assessed a variety of symptoms and mental skills to calculate an MHQ. These ratings were matched to respondents’ initial smartphone or tablet ownership ages.
Sapien Labs’ founder and principal scientist, neuroscientist Tara Thiagarajan, stresses the mental health risks of early smartphone use.
“Getting your phone early means more mental health problems as an adult, particularly suicidal thoughts, feelings of aggression towards others, and a sense of being detached from reality,” the scientist stated. It lowers one’s’social self,’ including how one sees oneself and interacts with others.”
Last year, McAfee – Global Connected Family found that 83% of 10- to 14-year-olds in India use smartphones, compared to 76% worldwide.
The Sapien Labs study links early smartphone usage to mental health concerns in young adults, but it does not investigate the causes.
However, Thiagarajan said that youngsters spend 5–8 hours online every day, or 2,950 hours per year.
Before cellphones, time was spent with family and friends. She compared social conduct to football, saying it takes practice.
Due to excessive smartphone use, children are losing fundamental social behaviors, making social interaction harder.