Are you or your teenagers addicted to your smartphone? Do you argue about the presence of phones at mealtimes? Do your youngsters sleep with their phones in their room? A ubiquitous accessory nowadays, it is so easy to fall into the trap of constantly checking our phones for news and messages at all times of day and night. This obsession, however, to always have our phone nearby is reaching epidemic proportions among our youngsters in particular and seriously affecting their mental health.
Dr Martin Lee is a Consultant Rheumatologist and Associate Senior Clinical Lecturer currently working for Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Hospitals and Newcastle University. He has a specialist interest in Young Adult and Adolescent care and created the concept of No Phone Zone in 2016 based on his reflections that the overuse of smartphones (particularly at bedtime and during the night) was having negative effects on his patients’ sleep hygiene, mental and physical wellbeing, interpersonal relationships, productivity and online safety.
Here Martin shares his thoughts and findings – it is serious food for thought as we move further into an age of increased smartphone usage.
The Importance of Sleep Hygiene and the Potential Effects Of Smartphone Overuse Syndrome (SOS) In Teenagers
Smartphones have fundamentally changed how we live and their functionality has had many positive impacts on our lives. The invention and rapid evolution of smartphones now means that access to the internet, social media sites and a multitude of applications is rarely more than an arm’s length away, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, are there potential downsides to this technology that could be having a negative impact within our homes and on our lives?
Smartphone Overuse Syndrome (SOS)?
As a consultant physician working in the UK with an interest in adolescent and young adult care, I witness first hand potential negative consequences of mobile phone technology almost on a day-to-day basis. I believe that smartphone overuse has the potential to hinder relationships within our families and also have a negative effect on our own, and our children’s, sleep patterns and mental health.
Teenagers are frequently referred to