Use of mobile phones by youth regarding the potential health consequences – a survey study

Marcela Maksymowicz, Piotr Artur Machowiec, Gabriela Ręka, Dominik Niemirski, Halina Piecewicz-Szczęsna

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/32358

Abstract


Introduction and purpose of work: The widespread availability and multi-functionality of mobile phones among young people cause that these devices are used not only for communication, but also for entertainment, learning, and remote work. However, excessive and unconscious use of mobile phones can adversely affect health through addiction and the FOMO – fear of missing out syndrome, resulting in lower self-esteem, depression, learning difficulties, and sleep problems.

Material and method: The material was collected using the diagnostic survey method. The study involved 451 people aged 10-25, divided into three age groups: 10-15, 16-19, and 20-25. The results were compared with the literature from the last 5 years available on the PubMed database.

Results: Mobile phones are mainly used for communicating on social networks, listening to music, taking photos, education, and organizational matters. The majority (70.0%) of respondents admit using the telephone while eating alone, more than half (54.0%) at school or during university activities, and about one fifth (21.3%) of people while driving, cycling, riding scooter, or skateboarding. More than half of the users use the telephone in the toilet, 52.1% of which disinfect the telephone. The average time of using a mobile phone is 2-4 hours a day, but among people aged 16-19 and in the female group it is higher, over 4 hours a day. Since the beginning of the pandemic, almost three-quarters (73.3%) of respondents have been using phones more frequently. In addition, there is a significant relationship between longer telephone use and the occurrence of neck pain and problems with falling asleep.

Conclusions: Nowadays, mobile phones are a helpful and convenient tool for study, work, organization, or entertainment, especially among young people during COVID-19 pandemic. However, its excessive use may have a detrimental effect on sleep, while in situations requiring concentration such as learning or driving, it can result in distraction. Careful use of the mobile phone including limiting the time spent on phone applications is essential to prevent inappropriate habits and adolescents’ addiction to phones.

Keywords


mobile phone; addiction; mental health; youth

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