Nighttime cellphone usage linked to poor mental health among teens

Cell phones help teens interact with their friends, but new research suggests that high phone usage, especially at night, could wreak havoc on their mental health. 

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Scientists recently conducted a study to determine how cellphone usage can affect a teen’s psyche. They found that nighttime usage increases anxiety and depression and decreases self-esteem.

The report said that this was the first study to directly link screen time with mental health. 

Why is nighttime usage so bad?

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According to the study, phone time replaces sleep, screen light suppresses melatonin and content stimulates the brain keeping it busy when it should be at rest. It also revealed that depressed teens use social media more.

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In fact, researchers noted that rates of anxiety and depression among the youth have risen by 70 percent within the last few decades.

"We've suspected that there's a problem here," Lisa Damour, a psychologist, told CBS News. “Even if they're having a great time, even if they're being super appropriate on their phone, if the phone is getting in the way of sleep they need it still causes harm.”

To combat the issue, analysts suggest that adults set the example by putting down their phones and being active in others ways such as communicating in person and exercising often.

"Everybody needs electronic curfews and I think we can sort of just say, these are universal rules," Damour said. 

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