Monday, 9 June 2008
Regular readers will be more than aware of my dislike of the evil that are mobile phones. It’s not so much the technology itself but rather the effect on people’s psychology. The odd need to be constantly connected and available. The pronounced fear that you might be missing out if your friends aren’t constantly sending you bizarre jumbles of letters and numbers which apparently equate to a modern form of English usage.
So it is with a sense of overblown vindication and pompous self righteousness that I read of a study undertaken by Gaby Badre, MD, PhD, of Sahlgren's Academy in Gothenburg on the use of these abominations by teenagers.
Dr. Badre essentially found that teenagers who excessively use their mobile phone are more prone to disrupted sleep, restlessness, stress and fatigue. And if teens these days are anything like the recollections I have of me or my contemporaries they won’t do anything by halves.
The study focused on 21 healthy subjects, between 14-20 years of age, with regular working/studying hours and without sleep problems. The subjects were broken up into two groups: a control group (three men, seven women) and the experimental group (three men, eight women). The control group made less than five calls and/or sent five text messages a day, while the experimental group made more than 15 calls and/or sent 15 text messages a day. The subjects were then asked questions regarding their lifestyle and sleep habits.
According to the results, when compared to subjects with restricted use of cell phones, young people with excessive use of cell phones (both talking and text messaging) have increased restlessness with more careless lifestyles, more consumption of stimulating beverages, difficulty in falling asleep and disrupted sleep, and more susceptibility to stress and fatigue. They behave more like larks than owls, suggesting a delayed biological clock.
"Addiction to cell phone is becoming common. Youngsters feel a group pressure to remain inter-connected and reachable round the clock. Children start to use mobile phones at an early stage of their life. There seem to be a connection between intensive use of cell phones and health compromising behaviour such as smoking, snuffing and use of alcohol," said Dr. Badre.
Dr. Badre stresses the importance of good sleep for young people.
"It is necessary to increase the awareness among youngsters of the negative effects of excessive mobile phone use on their sleep-wake patterns, with serious health risks as well as attention and cognitive problems," said Dr. Badre.
Remembering my reaction to advice received as a teenager all I can say to any who are passing this way is that from this old blokes perspective mobiles are ‘really cool’ (especially if one leaves them in a fridge) and if you want to be like your parents stay up late and keep on texting.
You know it makes sense!