According to research, one in four young kids have displayed an unhealthy attachment to their phones. This behavior has shown to be problematic, especially because it may lead to mental health issues. The research involved 42,000 young people, teens to 20-year-olds, from all over the globe.

Researchers believe the time spent on the digital device might be a factor causing the dilemma, but not the main one. This has been an ongoing concern for many, especially those parenting teens. However, studies are still unclear whether or not the time wasted on the phone is really the factor. Many parents, though, beg to differ.

This study, however, focuses on the relationship kids have with their phones, verses the time they spend on it. It was concluded that 23% of youths have a toxic relationship with their phones, and it is associated to poorer mental health. The study, also, says that it is unknown whether it is the cause for some mental issues.

Dr. Nicola Kalk, of King’s College London and partner of the study stated, “It seems like a substantial minority of teenagers and young people from various different countries are self-reporting a pattern of behaviour that … we recognise from other addictions. The quality of the evidence is poor, but it is enough to warrant further investigation.”

Researchers looked at the behaviors displayed by young people. They noticed many were anxious when unable to have their phone with them; as others neglected other activities and responsibilities, because they lacked the self-discipline.

Even more shocking, was the fact that girls in their late teens displayed these behaviors more than anyone else in the experiment. Kids of wealthy families, children who feel lonely, and those with low self-esteem also exhibited these addictive traits. Children with these problems also showed poor sleeping habits, lack of concentration in school, and were more prone to depression and other addictions; such as drinking, smoking and internet use. Though researchers still say the phone isn’t an addiction, the behaviors presented are more like of those who suffer from addictions. They classify an addiction as something hard to break and that causes harm. Again, many parents will agree that it is an addiction.

As quoted, “Kalk said the team were now looking at whether smartphones were just delivering addictive content, or whether there was something inherently addictive about using such devices.” Which is also something vital to explore.

Scientists and doctors, alike, have and continue to urge parents to spend time talking to their kids about the potential addiction that may form with digital devices. Parents have more power than they think, when it comes to controlling and regulating how much screen time their children are allowed.

Originally published on Moms.

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