“Age of First Smartphone and Mental Wellbeing Outcome” Report

Smartphones have become an integral part of our lives, but recent research suggests that early possession of these devices may have negative consequences for mental wellbeing. A study titled ‘Age of first smartphone and mental wellbeing outcome’ conducted in over 40 countries shed light on the potential psychological problems associated with children habituated to smartphones.

Key Findings of the Study:

  1. The study encompassed over 27,969 adults aged 14–18 years from various countries, including 4,000 adolescents and young adults from India.
  2. Early possession of smartphones was linked to a higher likelihood of experiencing psychological problems in adulthood.
  3. Young women who obtained smartphones at the age of 6 reported more emotional upheavals and “serious mental health challenges” as young adults.
  4. On the other hand, individuals who received their first smartphone after 18 were less likely to experience mental distress.
  5. The study revealed that excessive smartphone use, especially for social media and virtual interactions, contributed to a poorer sense of social self.

Recommendations for Parents:

  1. Delay Smartphone Ownership: Based on the study’s findings, it is crucial for parents to consider delaying the gift of a smartphone to their children. Waiting until the age of 18 or above allows for more maturity and a better understanding of the responsibilities associated with smartphone usage.
  2. Promote Face-to-Face Interactions: Encourage children to invest more in face-to-face relationships and conversations. Promote activities that involve spending time with friends and family in the real world. Engaging in physical activities like playing cricket or badminton together can enhance both physical and social wellbeing.
  3. Establish Time Limits: If the child already possesses a smartphone, establish clear and reasonable time limits for its usage. Encourage them to engage in other activities such as reading, hobbies, or outdoor play to ensure a healthy balance between virtual and real-world experiences.
  4. Monitor Online Activity: Keeping an eye on the child’s online browsing history can provide insights into their digital behavior and help identify any potential red flags. Open communication about online safety and responsible internet use is crucial.




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