Using cell phone late at night may put teenagers at risk of depression


It is the world’s first long-term assessment of adolescent mental health Late night phone usage directly contributes to poor sleeping habits
Our generation is addicted to cell phones, so much so that cell phones have begun to rule our lives. Every once in a while find ourselves glued to the screen. For many of us the obsession continues even while we eat or head to the bed at night, we are constantly stuck to it, texting or watching videos into the wee hours of the night. Are we to assume that such a habit comes with no negative consequences or does it show affect slowly and steadily? What about the teenagers who seem to be addicted to their smart phones all the time? According to a study done by Australian researchers at Murdoch and Griffith Universities, late night mobile phone use has devastating effects on teenagers’ mental health.
Funded by the Australian Research Council, it is the world’s first long-term assessment of adolescent mental health regarding late night mobile phone usage. The process was conducted as an annual survey over four years and included 1,100 students from 29 schools. When the subjects began the process, they were in Class 8 of High School. When the programme concluded, they had hit Class 11.
For the study, the researchers examined students’ quality of sleep, along with mood, aggression, coping skills, self esteem and whether they experienced any symptoms of depression. The questionnaires focused on what time of the night students continued to receive or send text messages and phone calls.
“We found that late night phone use directly contributed to poor sleep habits, which over time led to declines in overall well-being and mental health,” said lead researcher Lynette Vernon.
“We have demonstrated how poor sleep is the key link connecting an increase in night-time mobile use with subsequent increases in psychosocial issues.”
Around two thirds or 65 per cent of students in Class 8 who owned a mobile phone were reported to use it regularly after “lights out”. When the study concluded four years later, the figure was 78 per cent, finding that “as their levels of mobile phone use grew over time, so did their poor sleep behaviour”, co-author Kathryn Modecki said.
According to Mark Levi, a Sydney-based sleep doctor, the scientific reason why mobile phones can have such a negative influence on sleeping patterns is due to the unnatural light they produce.

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