Young people who heavily use computers and new and old cell phones have an increased risk of stress, sleep disorders and disturbed mental health, according to a new report from researchers in Sweden. Doctoral student and researcher Sara Thomee, together with colleagues from the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden, conducted four different studies that examined how the use of cell phones and computers affected the mental health of youths. The studies, which included interviews with 32 young people who are heavy users of ICT (information and communication technologies) and questionnaires for 4100 people aged between 20 and 24, showed that intense use of computers and cell phones can be linked to sleep disorders, stress and symptoms of depression.
“Public health advice should, therefore, include information on the healthy use of this technology,” says Thomee. “We looked at the effects both quantitatively and qualitatively and followed up the volunteers a year on. The conclusion is that intensive use of ICT can have an impact on mental health among young adults.”
The studies showed that heavy use of cell phones corresponds with a rise in sleeping issues for men and a rise in symptoms of depression for both sexes. Men who make intense use of computers are also more likely to have trouble sleeping.
“Regularly using a computer late at night is associated not only with sleep disorders but also with stress and depressive symptoms in both men and women,” Thomee claims.