The overuse of electronic devices and social media is affecting adolescent health. Specifically, according to new research, more than three hours of daily social media use is associated with poor sleep habits, while excessive use of electronic devices is associated with increased consumption of sugar and caffeine.
In the first study, published in the journal BMJ Open, it was found that teenagers in Britain who used social media for more than three hours a day had no problems with their sleep schedule, for example, they could sleep 11 at night daily or they could wake up at night.
There is a growing concern about the potential impact of the time a teenager spends in front of a screen (especially using social media) on his or her mental and physical health.
The present study analyzed data from 11,872 adolescents born between 2000 and 2002. They reported how much time they spent on social media (Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp) as well as their typical sleep habits (evening sleep and waking school days and weekends, how long it took them to get to sleep, and how difficult they were to sleep again if they woke up at night).
Over one-third of adolescents (33.7%) were low-level users and used social media less than one hour a day, just under one-third (31.6%) were middle-level users (1–3 hours). per day). Also, 14% were high-level users (3-5 hours) and 21% very high level (over 5 hours daily use).
It was found that very high-level users were 70% more likely to sleep after 11 daily and midnight days without school compared to mid-level users. Also, both high and very high users woke up more slowly (after 8 am) on their school days than mid-range users, while very high users reported that they had difficulty sleeping if they woke up. during the night. Girls used social media more than boys.
On the other hand, low-level users were less likely to sleep and wake up slowly, a finding that reinforces the hypothesis that social media use is associated with sleep habits. This is particularly worrying, according to researchers, especially on school days, as sleep deprivation has been associated with poorer school performance and less good mental health.
Solutions are being sought
Researchers explain that the overuse of social media and sleep may reflect underlying health problems. They themselves hope that future research will give a more comprehensive understanding of the relationship between social media use and sleep.
Finally, approaches are being explored to help young people find a balance between using social media and an appropriate sleep program that will allow adequate sleep during school days, which will benefit adolescents’ health and performance.
Increase in consumption of sugar and caffeine
A second study conducted by Mcmaster University showed that the more time consumed by teenagers using electronic devices, the more sugar and caffeine they consume.
The results of the present study, published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, showed that over 27% of adolescents exceed the recommended amount of sugar intake and 21% exceed their respective levels of caffeine taken from soft drinks and energy drinks. Men consumed more beverages and energy drinks than women, and high school adolescents consumed more than those in high school.
Dr. Kathryn Morrison, professor of paediatrics at McMaster University, co-director of the corresponding University’s Center for Metabolism, Obesity, and Diabetes and an endocrinologist for children at Children’s Hospital “MacMaster 2013” 2016 has been a push to reduce the consumption of soft drinks and energy drinks in the US but it seems that the increased use of electronic devices, and in particular television, is associated with increased consumption of sugar and caffeine.
“Addressing this issue through counselling or prevention could help,” she says.
The researchers analyzed data from 32,418 participants, adolescents 13-14 years and 15-16 years (junior high school to first high school).
Each additional hour of television appeared to be associated with a 32% higher likelihood of exceeding recommended levels by the World Health Organization (WHO) of sugar levels and a 28% increased likelihood of exceeding the corresponding caffeine levels. At the same time, teenagers spend every hour talking on a mobile or using social media also increased the risk of exceeding recommended sugar or caffeine levels.
The researchers were surprised that the use of video games was little associated with the consumption of more caffeine.
The TV does the most damage
“In view of the marketing campaigns aimed at those who play video games, a particularly strong correlation was expected between the intake of caffeine from energy drinks or soft drinks and the use of video games, but television was more closely linked to these elements,” Morrison.
However, school-based computer use was associated with a lower likelihood of exceeding recommended sugar levels.
Drinks that either contains sugar or artificial sweeteners are associated with obesity, diabetes, toothaches and bad sleeping habits. Increased caffeine, found in energy drinks, is associated with headaches, higher blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and chest pain, as well as poor sleep. Therefore, both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Pediatric Society urge physicians to raise awareness of young people and families about the dangers of these preparations and recommend that they avoid.