Report blames mental health decline in those 18-24 years of age on smartphones

A report published by Sapien Labs indicates that smartphone use may be responsible for a sustained decline in the mental health of young adults aged 18-24. The report notes that before the Internet, when someone turned 18, they would have spent “15,000 to 25,000 hours interacting with peers and family in person.” But with the Internet, that number has dropped to a range of 1,500 to 5,000 hours.

Young adults spend too much time on smartphones instead of learning social skills, the report says

Tara Thiagarajan, Chief Scientist at Sapien Labs, says this reduction in social interaction prevents people from learning important skills, such as how to read facial expressions, body language, physical touch, appropriate emotional responses, and conflict resolution. Thiagarajan noted that people who lack these skills may end up being detached from society and feeling suicidal.

Data were obtained in 34 countries where the decline in mental well-being of young adults 18-24 had begun before the pandemic. The decline started after 2010, coinciding with the increase in smartphone use. Prior to 2010, young adults had the highest level of mental well-being. Since then, the trend has been heading in the opposite direction.

If you know a large smartphone user in the age group 18-24 years, keep an eye out for the following symptoms, which may be an indication of a mental problem:
  • Obsessive thoughts, strange or unwanted thoughts
  • Self-image, self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Feelings of being detached from reality
  • Relationships with others
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Fear and anxiety
  • Feelings of sadness, anxiety or hopelessness.

As Thiagarajan says: “Data show that people now spend 7-10 hours online. This leaves some time for personal social engagement. This highlights the extent and nature of the challenges of social isolation and digital interaction at the expense of personal engagement. Social interaction . “

The above symptoms, the report says, “point to a decline in the social self, a composite measure of how we look at ourselves and are able to form and maintain relationships – essentially a view of how an individual is integrated. This constellation of symptoms that dominate the mental profile of young adults is not mapped to any single disorder as defined by the DSM (which is the standard classification system for mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States).

Do you think that the time young adults spend on their smartphones costs them the ability to learn the social skills they need to cope with life? Or is this just another attempt to make technology the scapegoat for the decline of civilization?

Smartphone users are encouraged to spend screen time or digital well-being

If you feel you need to monitor your smartphone usage any more, you can always use Screen Time on iOS to keep track of your iPhone usage. On Android, Digital Wellbeing is available.

Follow these instructions to turn on screen time on your iPhone:

  • Go to Settings > Screen time.
  • Press Turn on screen time.
  • Press Continue.
  • choose This is mine [device] or This is my child [device].

On Android, Digital Wellbeing is still a Beta and is hidden from your app list even if you install it on your phone. After installing Digital Wellbeing on your Android device, go to Settings > Digital well-being and parental control. Like we said, the icon is hidden by default. If you follow the instructions we just gave you, scroll down and there will be a toggle switch that says “Show icon in the app list.” Turn on the switch to see the Digital Wellbeing icon on the app list. If you plan to use the app daily, you may want to make sure the switch is turned on.

Both Apple’s screen time and Google’s Digital Wellbeing wants to reduce your screen time, reduce the number of notifications you receive each day, and create a period each night where you can relax with your phone so you can have a restful sleep. And they will also give you some control over how your child uses his phone.


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