A recent global study by Washington-based NGO Sapien Labs discovered that late exposure to smartphones contributes to better long-term mental health.
The study underlined that women who obtain smartphones at a young age are much more negatively affected than their male counterparts.
Sapien Labs’ founder, Dr. Tara Thiagarajan, stated that the findings of this study, entitled “Age of First Smartphone and Mental Well-being Outcomes,” show that with each year of delay in using smartphones, there were signs of long-term improvements in mental well-being.
The study further noted that men who obtained their first smartphone at the age of 6 had a 42% rate of mental health difficulties compared to men who received it at age 18, who had a mental health difficulty rate of 36%. As for women, the percentage dropped from 74% at the age of 6 to 46% at the age of 18.
It was also observed that children who get smartphones at an older age have a relatively positive perception of themselves and can relate positively to others, all while improving their social skills.
As for women, aspects such as mood, outlook, adaptability, and resilience were noticeably improved when they were exposed to smartphones at an older age.
Sapiens Lab further noted that the findings suggest cumulative effects of smartphones obtained in childhood on mental health, which are distinct from typical symptoms of depression or anxiety, concluding that these results “describe a progressive shift of the global population toward one that has diminished social capacity and resilience, and that harbors more frequent suicidal thoughts and feelings of aggression towards others, as the average age of first smartphone acquisition becomes younger.”
In this regard, Sapiens Lab urges people to consider the implications of early exposure to smartphones for the future of civil society.