Relax parents, smartphone addiction is not that bad for your kids

New research suggests parents need not worry so much about about how smartphone addiction is affecting their teen's mental health.

While it is true that the advancement of technology has led to many conveniences in our world, it has also brought with it its fair share of distractions.

These days the use of social media and apps like Instagram and Facebook is widespread among millennials, and so is owning a smartphone, which has led many to believe that too much time spent on a smartphone leads to a spike in depression, anxiety and other problems, particularly among teenagers.

The debate over the harm that smartphone addiction is causing is generally based on the assumption that the devices that we carry in our pockets pose a significant risk to our mental health. However, a research study published last week has revealed that parents need not worry because such fears may have been exaggerated.

Mobile use is not giving your kids depression

A study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, as reported by The New York Times, scanned through 40 studies that have discussed the link between social media use and mental health problems in teenagers and found that the link has not been well-established in academic studies.

"The review highlights that most research to date has been correlational, focused on adults versus adolescents, and has generated a mix of often conflicting small positive, negative and null associations," reads the summary of the study, which was led by Candice Odgers, a professor with the University of California, Irvine.

Two women on their smartphones are seen outside a clothes retail shop on October 8, 2011 UltraSlo1/Flickr

Odgers also pointed out that the time teens spend on their smartphones and online is not so bad after all. He authored a study published in August in the journal Clinical Phycological Science that studied young adolescents to determine whether the time spent on digital tech had an impact on their mental health and found "little evidence of longitudinal or daily linkages."

"It may be time for adults to stop arguing over whether smartphones and social media are good or bad for teens' mental health and start figuring out ways to best support them in both their offline and online lives," Odgers said, in reference to the August study.