Cell phone addiction: study shows what serious consequences it really has for our children

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It’s a thorn in the side of many parents: children spend more and more time behind the screen of their smartphones. For teenagers, it’s an average of ten hours a day. The word “cell phone addiction” often comes up in this context. A recent study from Israel shows just how damaging it is.

A study from Israel analyzed 84 papers on the consequences of excessive smartphone use. And the results are simply frightening.

Numerous consequences for the health of our protégés
For example, the analysis showed a link between cell phone addiction and the following physical and mental illnesses:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • ADHD
  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Difficulty with cognitive emotion regulation
  • Impulsivity
  • Impairment of cognitive functions
  • Low self-esteem
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Decreased physical fitness
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Pain
  • Migraines
  • Decrease in gray matter volume in the frontal brain.

At what point is cell phone use critical?
So excessive smartphone use is pathological. According to the latest Postbank Youth Digital Study, 16- to 18-year-olds spend an average of 70.4 hours a week online. Yet screen time for school, study or training accounts for only a third of this.

This means that the youngest segment of society spends around ten hours a day on their cell phones. It has not been scientifically determined when and under what circumstances one can speak of smartphone addiction.

FOMO & Nomophobia
New studies on this subject often associate cell phone addiction with FOMO and nomophobia.

FOMO (“Fear of missing out”): An obsessive fear of missing out on an event, news, or novelty.

Nomophobia (“No mobile fear”): The Fear of being without a cell phone. It’s less about being unable to communicate actively and more about not being available.

Measures against cell phone addiction
The Israeli research team also suggests some measures to control cell phone addiction. Among them:

Deactivating push messages
Disabling audible notifications on social media
Turning off the cell phone overnight
The Israeli researchers concluded with an important piece of advice:

The user should determine when to use the cell phone. The cell phone should not constantly attract the user’s attention with constant buzzing and beeping.

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