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Teenagers’ nighttime phone use risk for mental health

Teenagers’ nighttime phone use risk for mental health

Can your teenager live without his/her phone? Does he/she use it at night? According to a recent study, night-time mobile phone use can lead to less well-being among adolescents.

 Social interaction

During adolescence, relationships with peers are becoming increasingly important. Mobile phones are often essential for adolescents, because they provide opportunities to stay interacted with their friends at almost any time of day or night.

 Night-time mobile phone use

Despite the benefits of mobile phones, there are risks associated with extensive mobile phone use at night. This study tracked changes in adolescents’ night mobile phone use over 3 years. They found that extensive mobile phone use at night was associated with more sleep problems and subsequent less well-being:

  • On average, adolescent’s use of mobile phones during night-time increased between 13 and 16 years.
  • Adolescents who increasingly used their mobile phone at night-time, had poorer sleep quality.
  • High levels of night-time mobile phone use were related to higher levels of depressed mood, problem behavior and lower self-esteem 1 year later. So, teenagers with high night-time mobile phone use had less well-being 1 year later.

 Tips

  • Set a good example yourself and demonstrate good habits around phone use.
  • Talk to your teenager about the possible disadvantages of night-time mobile phone use.
  • Explain healthy mobile phone habits and the importance of sleep for adolescents. Adolescents need 8 to 10 hours of sleep for healthy development.
  • Monitor late-night use of your teenager’s mobile phone.
  • Consider physically removing mobile phones from the bedroom or using digital curfews.

 More information

Vernon, L., Modecki, K. L., & Barber, B. L. (2017). Mobile Phones in the Bedroom: Trajectories of Sleep Habits and Subsequent Adolescent Psychosocial Development. Child Development.

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