We live in an age in which for many of us, life without a mobile phone would be inconceivable. And we're not talking about busy professionals here, who - quite understandably - need to keep in touch with their colleagues and clients. In today's world, many teenagers live in a virtual universe, in which face to face communication rarely occurs, and in which friends are made and kept via social networking websites and via mobile phones. This is definitely not good news on any level - emotional, social or psychological. A recent study comes to add to these previously-existing worries.
The research in question was carried out in Sweden and concluded that a very frequent use of mobile phones can cause stress and sleep problems in teens, as well as what scientists call a "careless" lifestyle including disrupted sleep, insomnia and frequent energy drink consumption. Teenagers normally have to get a minimum of 9 hours of sleep per night, something that doesn't occur when mobile phone usage becomes abusive. In fact, scientists say, frequently speaking on the phone and texting their friends makes adolescents even more susceptible to things such as stress and fatigue.
"Addiction to phones is becoming common. Youngsters feel pressure to be interconnected and reachable round the clock. It is necessary to increase their awareness of the negative effects of excessive phone use on their sleep-wake patterns, with serious health risks as well as attention and cognitive problems", study leader Dr Gaby Badre explained at the annual meeting in the U.S. of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. As a result, teenagers should be made aware of the risks to which they expose themselves by using their phones too much. Understanding is the first step, while moderation is the next move.