New Delhi, December 7, 2017: Prolonged use of smartphones may significantly increase the risk of depression, anxiety, and insomnia among teenagers, as per recent findings. The findings indicate that there may be an imbalance in the brain chemistry of young people addicted to devices and the internet. The motivation for going online is an important factor in relating technology usage to depression and anxiety.

While people are concerned about cancer, which remains a controversial issue, there are other future health problems caused by the use of smartphones. Prolonged use of mobile phone can also cause neck pain, dry eyes, computer vision syndrome, and insomnia. About 60% of youth between 20 and 30 years of age fear to lose their mobile phone, a condition called nomophobia.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Dr RN Tandon – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement, said, “Prolonged use of smartphones can cause multiple health issues, not just depression, and anxiety. Smartphones and tablets give off a blue light, which can affect a person’s sleep-wake cycle. This blue light reduces the amount of melatonin secreted in our brains, which is a hormone required for good sleep. People who use smartphones in bed have a delayed REM sleep and wake up less alert in the morning. Cell phone elbow happens when one talks on the phone a lot. Holding the phone up to the ear causes the ulnar nerve to get compressed over time, which can lead to problems with motility and sensation. These are just some of the issues. Behaviors can be as addictive as substances, and many of us have the tendency to pull out and check our phones much more often than is necessary.”

Having access to so many different streams of information through gadgets has been found to decrease the brain’s grey matter density, which is responsible for cognition and emotional control.

Adding further, Dr. Aggarwal, said, “In this digital era, the key to good health should be moderation – moderate use of technology. A lot of us have become slaves to devices that were really meant to free us and give us more time to experience life and be with people. Unless precautionary measures are taken at the earliest, this addiction can prove detrimental to one’s health in the longer term.”

Some tips for preventing problems caused due to overuse of mobile phones are as follows.

  • Electronic curfew means not using any electronic gadgets 30 minutes before sleep.
  • Facebook holiday: Take a Facebook holiday for 7 days every three months.
  • Social media fast: Avoid use of social media once in a week for the entire day.
  • Use your mobile phone only when mobile.
  • Do not use the computer for more than three hours in a day.
  • Limit your mobile talk time to more than two hours in a day.
  • Do not recharge your mobile battery more than once in a day.
  • Mobile can also be a source of infection in the hospital setup; therefore, it is disinfected every day.

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