Mental Health Negatively Affected By Excessive Cellphone And Computer Use: Study

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Researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden conducted a study that led them to find a correlation between constant computer use and mental disorders.

CBS Charlotte reported the reseachers conducting the study of more than 4,100 Swedish men and women found a majority of the people who use their cellphones and computers most heavily are at higher risk than average of experiencing stress, sleeping disorders, and depression.

The lead author of the study, Sara Thomee, said the team found a central link between computers and users reporting mental disorders. She indicated the amount of time devoted to the use of technological devices was the central problem.

Regarding those most at risk among the study's subjects, Thomee wrote, It was easy [for them] to spend more time than planned at the computer (e.g., working, gaming, or chatting), and this tended to lead to time pressure, neglect of other activities and personal needs (such as social interaction, sleep, physical activity), as well as bad ergonomics, and mental overload.

The reseachers also found a correlation between stress and constant availability via phones. Thomee wrote: Demands for availability originated not only from work and the social network, but also from the individual's own ambitions or desires. This resulted in disturbances when busy or resting, the feeling of never being free, and difficulties separating work and private life. ... Unreturned calls or messages led to overload and feelings of guilt.

Thomee advised people to set time limits on how long they use theirs computer and phones.

During an interview with NewsWorks, Dr. Dan Gottlieb said increasing numbers of young people have reported using technological devices in bed, which is supposed to be a sanctuary for sleep. Gottlieb said the overstimulation of young people's brains hurts their sleep hygiene. In turn, that lack of sleep contributes to irritability, poor performance, and other mental-health problems.

Gottlieb advised parents to be role models for their children and to shut down all technological devices in the home when it's family time. In other words, family time should not necessarily mean hunkering down in front of the television set.

Along the same line, a study conducted for the Children's Society in the U.K. and reported in 2009 found that too much television made children overly materialistic, while also affecting their relationships with family members, according to the Daily Mail.

Advertisers take advantage of the peer-pressure effect, and many commercials make parents appear out-of-touch, the Mail reported.

This study of children aged between 10 and 13 found that, overall, they had an unhealthy knowledge of the lives of celebrities who were better-looking and wealthier than they are ever likely to be, which hurt their self-esteem and led to an unrealistic pursuit of beauty, the Mail said.

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