New study links smartphone use with anxiety in children

A recent study involving meta-data from over 42,000 children and young people highlighted strong links between panic and anxiety, and the use of smartphones among youths.

The research, carried out by King’s College in London, showed that younger children lacked the maturity to regulate their usage.

It often leads to obsessive checking of their phones and feelings of anxiety when they didn’t have them.

We asked children from a Primary School in Edinburgh how many children in their class used smartphones.

Aimee, 9, said over half of the children in her Primary 5 class have phones and that most are smartphones.

Jennifer, 11, said she is one of the only children in her Primary 7 class without a smartphone.

Jennifer said: “My friends say they tell their parents they need to have phones for safety, but I know it’s so that they can stay in touch with their friends”.

According to the publication of the research by BMC Psychiatry, the upset caused by blocking a child or young person’s mobile phone usage could cause youngsters to lose sleep or become agitated at school.

In order to recover from their addiction, some children in the study required concentrated efforts from parents or professionals to help them cope with the change.

Nicola Kalk, one of the report’s authors, from King’s College London said:

“There is a need for public awareness around smartphone use in children and young people, and parents should be aware of how much time their children spend on their phones.”

Any parent or child who is worried about overuse of their smartphone should contact Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.