Researchers Find Link Between Late-Night Cellphone Use, Teenage Mental Health Issues
A recent study from the University of Tokyo finds that teenagers who use their cellphone after going to bed for the night are at a higher risk of poor mental health, including suicidal thoughts and the propensity to inflict self harm. The study's conductors speculate that teens who are up late on their cellphones are getting less sleep at a lower quality, which other studies have linked to mental health issues, reports MyHealthDaily.com.
Almost 18,000 teens were surveyed for the study, which will be published in this month's edition of the Journal of Pediatric Psychology. They were asked about their mental health and whether they ever had suicidal thoughts. Researchers also asked how frequently the teens sent emails or made phone calls after going to bed.
Researchers were quick to point out that night-time cell phone use is not necessarily a cause of mental health problems among adolescents, but simply that there is a connection between the two. However, they do say that looking at a bright screen or participating in stimulating mental activities, such as cellphone use or video games, during bed time will affect the amount of sleep one gets, which in turn can lead to mental health problems.
Parents of teenagers may find it difficult to impose rules on technology use, but setting up guidelines for cellphone and internet usage can help protect young people from cyber bullying or internet security issues. According to Yahoo, parents should make themselves available to their teens as a resource to help them with any issues they may be facing at school or online. Moms and dads can also remind teens about what is and is not appropriate to share online or via texting and discuss the importance of keeping one's mobile identity secure.