Risks increase in children with more smartphone time

Smartphones have changed children's lives—causing negative mental effects—especially on younger kids.

Teens are spending about six to eight hours of their leisure time on social media rather than face to face real life interaction. iGen author Dr. Jean Twenge said parents should be limiting time to about two hours a day. But, they shouldn’t ban smartphones.

“Mental health issues started to spike right around the time that smartphones became popular and teens who spent more time on screens are more likely to be depressed and even to have risk factors for suicide,” said Twenge.

She said 10 years old is now the average age when most people get their first smartphone, and even tech gurus agree that's too young,.

“Psychologists would agree that is too young to deal with those pressures and the potential for that taking away from more beneficial activities. It’s going to be up to every family, of course, but if you can put off getting that smart phone as long as possible, that may have some benefits,” said Twenge.

She said being online is causing them to lose sleep, which adds to depression and mental health issues.

It doesn’t help, she added, that on social media, people post the highlight reels of their life. Now, everything is a popularity contest with how many likes you get.

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