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Do Cell Phones Cause Depression

Have Smartphones Destroyed A Generation

For Teens: Do Cell Phones and Social Media Cause Depression and Anxiety?

More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But theyre on the brink of a mental-health crisis.

One day last summer, around noon, I called Athena, a 13-year-old who lives in Houston, Texas. She answered her phoneshes had an iPhone since she was 11sounding as if shed just woken up. We chatted about her favorite songs and TV shows, and I asked her what she likes to do with her friends. We go to the mall, she said. Do your parents drop you off?, I asked, recalling my own middle-school days, in the 1980s, when Id enjoy a few parent-free hours shopping with my friends. NoI go with my family, she replied. Well go with my mom and brothers and walk a little behind them. I just have to tell my mom where were going. I have to check in every hour or every 30 minutes.

Associations Between The Mobile Phone Variables At Baseline

The frequency of mobile phone use variable had low positive correlations with all of the more qualitative mobile phone variables using Spearman correlation analysis . Furthermore, there were low positive associations between most qualitative mobile phone variables, and no association between availability demands and accessibility stress.

Table 2 Correlations between the mobile phone exposure variables at baseline

There were no clear associations between availability demands or being awakened at night and the mental health outcomes. For women, medium overuse was associated with current stress and high and medium overuse was associated with sleep disturbances. High accessibility stress was associated with current stress, sleep disturbances, and symptoms of depression for both the men and the women. In the majority of analyses , the high category of the exposure variable generated a higher PR compared to the medium category.

Cell Phones And Depression: Can Cell Phones Cause Depression

June 24, 2014 by BMG

How Can Cell Phones Lead to Depression?

Recent studies support a strong link between depression and cell phone use. However, there are several propaganda about depression from cell phone addiction. Cellular devices can predispose men to health threats including emotional instability.

Mobile phones are also linked to malignancy and tumor growth. There are various campaigns on how mobile phones can lead to higher risk of cancer among users.

Although, a study in South Korea reports around one-third of the participants are using mobile phones over 90 times a day. Participants also show higher levels of depression during assessment. This is a compelling evidence that cell phones and depression affect overall health and wellness.

Treating Depression from Cell Phone Addiction

Adolescents are often reported with a higher incidence of depression from cell phone addiction. Also, ED and depression are widespread in the recent generation. Complex technology spoils several men from incessantly using cellular devices.

Experts consider how depression and cell phone use can result to addictive behavior. Cellular devices serve as an outlet for depression. Consequently, excessive use of mobile phones can lead to addictive behavior.

Modern technology apparently enhances cellular development. Thus, several users become dependent and often neglect the serious effects of mobile devices.

Recommended Reading: What To Do When You Think You Are Depressed

Screen Time Isnt One Single Thing Yet Its Often Studied As One

Another problem is with the question itself its overly broad.

Screen time isnt a thing its 100 things, Florence Breslin, a scientist with the Laureate Institute for Brain Research, says. Its social media, its video games. its research, its reading. Those categories can even be refined further. Playing an online cooperative game with friends is a different experience than playing a solitary game, for example.

Studies need to better account for the diversity of experiences a person can have with a screen.

In nutrition, you wouldnt talk about food time, says Andrew Przybylski, an experimental psychologist at the Oxford Internet Institute. You talk about calories, talk about carbohydrates, fats, and proteins the idea of screen time contains none of that richness.

But its difficult because the technology is always changing. Today, teens are on TikTok tomorrow, theyll be on an entirely new social media platform. At least in nutrition, a carb is always a carb. It doesnt get updated like a smartphone app.

You know how you hear a headline that one week wine is good for you, and the next week it isnt, Przybylski outlines. Imagine if wine changed all the time! Imagine if there was a new kind of wine invented every 48 months.

Meanwhile, screens are creeping into more places. Heck, you can even buy a refrigerator with a screen connected to the internet. Do those count as screen time too?

What The Research Says

10 Definite Signs You Are Addicted To Your Smartphone

While more research is needed to examine the effects of smartphones on adults, there have been several studies looking at the relationship between devices and young people. However, most studies haven’t been able to show a direct connection between digital devices and mental health.

Recent research from the University of Arizona showed that adolescents who were dependent on or addicted to their smartphone were more likely to show signs of depression and loneliness. Researchers are still determining why that relationship exists.

A 2018 survey sponsored by Hopelab and Well Being Trust showed that teens and young adults had mixed feelings about social media use. Respondents who had symptoms of moderate to severe depression said they were more likely to feel left out when they use social media, or think that others are doing better than they are.

The increase in screen time during the pandemic, while pretty much mandatory, may be causing stress in adolescents and teens, says Robin Henderson, PsyD chief executive, Behavioral Health for Providence Oregon. But working to find healthy boundaries with technology is a step in the right direction for developing good mental health at a young age.

Phones and sleep habits

Phones cause sleep problems because of the blue light they create. This blue light can suppress melatonin, a hormone that helps control your natural sleep cycle.

Read Also: Lack Of Sleep Causes Depression

A Scoping Review Of The Association Between Smartphone Use And Mental Health Among College Students

Jeff Cain, EdD, MS1*, Jordan L Kelley, PharmD, BCPS2 and Daniel Malcom, PharmD3

1Department of Pharmacy Practice & Science, University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, USA

2University of Kentucky Healthcare Good Samaritan Hospital, USA

3Clinical and Administrative Sciences Department, Sullivan University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, USA

Ways Your Phone Could Be Hurting Your Mental Health

Smartphones have become essential to almost every part of a persons life these days: school, work, family, friends, fun. Originally, phones were functional a means to make calls on-the-go and connect with others. They have evolved to become hand-sized computers which are capable of much more. Your smartphone can tell you the closest place to get a burrito and the fastest route there. You can find out the latest White House tweet, watch your favorite rom-com movie, or post this weeks blog.

With the growing availability and affordability of a variety of smartphones and omnipresent wi-fi, people have access to the entirety of the internet around the clock. All anybody ever has to do is take out their phone. While this technological advancement is amazing and convenient, it comes at a cost.

Research is beginning to show that cell phone addiction is a real thing and that your phone may be damaging your mental health in many ways.

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Helping A Child Or Teen With Smartphone Addiction

Any parent whos tried to drag a child or teen away from a smartphone or tablet knows how challenging it can be to separate kids from social media, messaging apps, or online games and videos. Youngsters lack the maturity to curb their smartphone use on their own, but simply confiscating the device can often backfire, creating anxiety and withdrawal symptoms in your child. Instead, there are plenty of other ways to help your child find a healthier balance:

Be a good role model. Children have a strong impulse to imitate, so its important you manage your own smartphone and Internet use. Its no good asking your child to unplug at the dinner table while youre staring at your own phone or tablet. Dont let your own smartphone use distract from parent-child interactions.

Use apps to monitor and limit your childs smartphone use. There are a number of apps available that can limit your childs data usage or restrict texting and web browsing to certain times of the day. Other apps can eliminate messaging capabilities while in motion, so you can prevent your teen using a smartphone while driving.

Create phone-free zones. Restrict the use of smartphones or tablets to a common area of the house where you can keep an eye on your childs activity and limit time online. Ban phones from the dinner table and bedrooms and insist theyre turned off after a certain time at night.

Is There Any Good News

Do smart phones cause anxiety and depression???

With all the negatives associated with the iGeneration, it might be tempting to think the news is all bad. But its not. For better or for worse, there are a few silver linings:

For starters, Twenge continues in the Atlantic feature, the iGen is physically safer. They drive less one in four still doesnt have drivers license by the time he or she graduates high school.2

Because they leave the house less often, they are less sexually active. In 2016, the teen birth rate in the U.S. hit an all-time low, down 67% since its zenith in 1991.2

This generation is less likely to try or regularly use drugs and alcohol. A 2016 Monitoring the Future survey a survey of eighth, 10th and 12th graders found that use of illicit drugs other than marijuana was at the lowest level in the 40-year history of the project 9

Across a range of behaviors drinking, dating, spending time unsupervised 18-year-olds now act more like 15-year-olds used to, and 15-year-olds more like 13-year-olds Childhood now stretches well into high school.2

iGen teens also have more leisure time, but for all the aforementioned reasons, they are spending it alone in their rooms on their phones leaves them lonely, anxious and prone to depression.

Recommended Reading: Natural Remedies Depression And Memory Loss

Use The Phone For Good :

If you look at the research, then the bad things about the cell phone outweigh the good stuff. But, with the negative side of technology, the devices come with plenty of positives too. In this ever-changing world, your teens cant escape from social media. So, the next time your teenage girl pop on a social media channel, search for some groups that match their interests and passions.

The Experts Disagree: Two Opposing Viewpoints

The catch is actually a conundrum.

One group of people, including mental health experts and laypeople alike , are convinced cell phones/smartphones are to blame for the increase in mental health and addiction problems in teens seen over the past two decades. They say data like the above proves it without a doubt. Before cellphones, less mental health problems and addiction. After cell phones, more mental health problems and addiction.

To them the case is open and shut:

Cell phones are to blame.

On the other hand, another group of people, also including mental health experts and laypeople, are not convinced cellphones, smartphones, and the content teens encounter while using them are to blame for the increase in mental health and addiction problems in teens over the past two decades. They say the data offered by publications like The World Teen Loneliness Study do not present an open and shut case with regards to cell phones and teen mental health because the data are correlative and not causative.

Heres a quick explanation of the difference between correlation and causation:

Recommended Reading: How To Give Good Advice To Someone Who Is Depressed

How Smartphones And Social Media Contribute To Depression And Anxiety In Teens

I recently celebrated my 10-year anniversary working as a therapist with the Teen Xpress program. I have now spent over a decade counseling teenagers, and in that time clothing styles, technology, politics, methods of learning, even socializing has evolved. In all the ways that the world has changed, though, it seems that nothing has rocked a teens world more than the invention of the smart phone and social media.

  • Making it easy to compare themselves with others

Any of us that have even one social media account know this one. We all know that our friends and family members are posting the most visually pleasing picture of ourselves and others that we can. Back in the old days when we used cameras, the pictures you took were the pictures you got- closed eyes and all. Not to mention, they werent posted for the whole world to see. When what we see is others best smiles, best hair, best pose, and best backdrop, we cant help but take notice of how they look, and how WE look in comparison. As adults we may have enough ego strength not to let someones perfect picture affect how we feel about ourselves. However, it can be a bit trickier at 13, 15, or 17 years old to remember that the reality is that the perfect picture was probably captured after 48 or so bad ones were deleted! No one is perfect, no matter what their profile picture looks like. Our teens need to know that.

  • Contributing to feelings of loneliness and isolation

Links To Unstable Mental Health

5 Ways Your Phone Could Be Hurting Your Mental Health ...

Twenge, who last year wrote iGen: Why Todays Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happyand Completely Unprepared for Adulthood, has now spent years researching the ways smartphones have changed and molded todays generation of kids. She believes its effects to be profound and alarming, considering in particular the many uncanny correlations shes discovered between smartphone use and mental health.

Starting around 2011 is when Twenge first noticed more teens were starting to report they felt lonely and depressed in national surveys. These were sudden and large changes, very different from the gradual changes I was used to seeing as a generations researcher. They didnt line up with changes in the economy, which was improving after 2011, so I puzzled over why they might be occurring.

It was then that Twenge recognized the other big societal shift that had occurred around 2011. It was the same year smartphone ownership surpassed 50 percent in the United States. This fundamental shift in how teens were spending their leisure timetoward online communication and away from face-to-face communication and sleepseemed like a plausible explanation for why depression increased so suddenly, she says.

For Sam, on the other hand, Its just stuck to him, Ellen says. Hes the one going through some anxiety and depression he is completely addicted. He gets angry thats the way he feels he connects to his friends.

Recommended Reading: Emory Treatment Resistant Depression Clinic

What The Study Revealed

Twenge and her team analyzed information from nearly 612,000 adolescents and adults who participated in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which has provided an annual snapshot of tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use as well as data on mental health among ages 12 and up since 1971.

The team looked for trends in mood disorders and behavior related to suicide thoughts, plans, attempts, and the act itself from 2005 through 2017, the latest year for which data is available.

Although previous studies have reported an uptick in adolescent depression and suicide over much of the past decade, Twenge wanted to know if the trend was affecting all ages or just young people.

Researchers hypothesized that the growing incidence of serious depression and related deaths primarily is occurring within a particular age group rather than being a function of growing older or a phenomenon that people of all ages are experiencing.

What they found supported their conjecture.

The number of survey participants reporting major depression in the past year increased among those in the preteen-to-mid-20s group, whereas the incidence stayed the same or declined among people 26 and above.

More specifically, the incidence of major depression that 12 to 17-year-olds had experienced over the previous year increased 52 percent from 2005 to 2017.

Among ages 18 to 25, the prevalence rose by 63 percent from 2009 to 2017.

How To Know If Youre Stressed

Rowles said young people can have the same symptoms as adults when it comes to depression and anxiety: abrupt changes in sleep ability, appetite changes , social isolation marked by less communication with friends and less participation in social or school events, and drastic or significant personality change, say from calm to irritable or angry.

Also Check: Mild Depression Vs Severe Depression

Excessive Cellphone Use May Cause Anxiety Experts Warn

“If you’re constantly connected, you’re going to feel anxiety,” researcher says.

Your cellphone may be causing you anxiety, experts warn

— Spending too much time on your phone may be causing you to feel stress and anxiety, experts are warning.

“The more people use their phone,” Dr. Nancy Cheever, who spearheaded research on the relationship between cellphone use and anxiety at California State University, Dominguez Hills, told ABC News, “the more anxious they are about using their phone.”

Cheever’s research suggests that phone-induced anxiety operates on a positive feedback loop, saying that phones keep us in a persistent state of anxiety and the only relief from this anxiety is to look at our phones.

She warns that there is little known about the long-term effects that phone-induced anxiety can have on your overall health.

“If you’re constantly connected, you’re going to feel anxiety,” Cheever said. “And the more people feel anxiety, that can lead to other things like mental health and physical ailments.” Her research comes at a time when teens may be on their phones for more than six-and-a-half hours a day, according to the nonprofit Common Sense Media.

Cheever demonstrated her experiment on ABC News’ T.J. Holmes, as well as two teenage girls, measuring the amount of stress that being away from their phones caused them.

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