A study confirms that smartphones are affecting the mental health of children

A study confirms that smartphones are affecting the mental health of children

Since we get up until we get back in bed, smartphones, today, are traveling companions who are there to show us our emails, inform us of the latest news or get in touch with friends, family or customers. Technology, used wisely, can make our lives easier, but its abuse can also have great counterparts to our health.

According to a study published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, the indiscriminate use of mobile phones is causing serious problems among adolescents. Problems that range from insomnia to depression and suffering more and more young people.

The study certified that those users who spent more hours on the screen had more problems falling asleep, more problems staying awake and more symptoms of depression.

Changing the habits of teenagers is not easy because they «hate to be told what to do», but «parents have to take action».

The use of mobile phones by the youngest must be conditioned by a series of rules that must be clearly specified, communicated and accepted. Although they will vary according to each case (age, circumstances, ways of being, etc.), here is a list of suggestions:
– The situations in which it will be used will be agreed upon.
– The situations in which it will be switched off will be agreed.
– We will prioritize the conversation with a person with whom we talk physically about who calls us on the phone.
– The cost of the mobile will be delegated to the adolescent.
The use of mobile phones by ages:
Under the age of 11: in general terms, we discourage children under this age from using mobile telephony, since they lack the criteria to use it and its use is unnecessary in most cases.
Between 11 and 13 years: we do not consider advisable that they have a mobile of their own. We can leave you on time the cell phone of a relative, even if we lend it to you in some case, when we are interested (for our peace of mind).
Between 13 and 15 years: this is perhaps the most complicated age, because although they are technically very capable of using mobile services, at this age it is very easy to fall into addiction, so we do not consider it advisable to have their own mobile , despite the external pressure (friends, companions …). As in the previous case you can use, now more frequently, one of the family for certain occasions. It is the ideal time to train him in the correct and restrained use of it (always preceded by personal example).
Over 16 years: at these ages we consider that the son or daughter can already be responsible for the possession of a mobile phone. It is very necessary that the rules of use are established a priori and we also advise  the teenager to be fully responsible for the economic maintenance (including the purchase of this mobile phone), as this way the person will value it more and be more aware of the cost.

Virginia Martín Ríos

Psicóloga en Clínica Martín Ríos

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