Smartphones top the list of essential items one has on them, with their wallet and keys when they leave the house. From setting alarms to scheduling reminders to attending to work to connecting socially, it's all in the palm of your hand with one of these devices. So it might be surprising to note that using a smartphone for long hours can actually harm you. Researchers have found that spending a lot of time with the device and on social media may lead to mental distress and suicide among adolescents.
Lead author of the study Elia Abi-Jaoude, from Toronto Western Hospital, said, "Physicians, teachers and families need to work together with youth to decrease possible harmful effects of smartphones and social media on their relationships, sense of self, sleep, academic performance, and emotional well-being." Authors of the study added, "For adolescents today, who have not known a world without social media, digital interactions are the norm, and the potential benefits of online access to productive mental health information including media literacy, creativity, self-expression, sense of belonging and civic engagement, as well as low barriers to resources such as crisis lines and internet-based talking therapies cannot be discounted."
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The researchers recommend that doctors should ask teenagers to reduce social media use rather than eradicate it completely and encourage parents to be part of the conversations. Parents should discuss appropriate smartphone use with teenagers to determine together how to reduce risks and set boundaries.
With inputs from IANS