SEOUL, Dec. 8 (Korea Bizwire) – Adolescents who use smartphones for more than four hours a day are at a higher risk of experiencing health-related issues such as stress, suicidal thoughts, and substance use compared to those who use them less, according to a study conducted by a team of researchers led by professor Moon Jin-hwa at Hanyang University’s College of Medicine.
The findings, based on an analysis of survey data from over 50,000 adolescents, were published in the scientific journal ‘PLOS ONE’ on December 7.
The research team explained that the study was prompted by the increasing concerns about mental disorders, sleep disturbances, eye health, and musculoskeletal disorders associated with the rising use of smartphones among adolescents, as indicated in previous research.
The team analyzed data from a web-based survey on the risk behaviors of Korean adolescents conducted in 2017 and 2020, involving 55,809 participants.
The data included each participant’s daily smartphone usage time and various health-related items. The researchers categorized smartphone usage time into two groups – four hours or less, and over four hours – and examined the correlation with stress, sleep, depression, suicidal thoughts, substance use, and smartphone overdependence.
The results revealed a significant increase in the proportion of adolescents using smartphones for more than two hours a day, rising from 64.3 percent in 2017 to 85.7 percent in 2020. Adolescents with daily smartphone usage exceeding four hours were found to have a higher likelihood of experiencing health-related behavioral issues compared to those with four hours or less of usage.
However, adolescents using smartphones for one or two hours a day showed a lower incidence of these issues compared to those who did not use smartphones at all.
The research team emphasized, “The results indicate that adverse effects become more pronounced when daily smartphone usage exceeds four hours,” stating that these findings could be instrumental in formulating guidelines and educational programs for responsible smart device usage.
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