More and more scientific studies show that mobile phone radiation affects the nervous system. Also, mobile phones are increasingly associated with stress and sleeping disorders. Young people appear to be particularly sensitive to this, partly because of the social pressure of being available constantly and the "fear of missing out on something”.

Young people and their mobile phones have become inseparable nowadays. The moment they go to secondary school, most children have a mobile phone with which they constantly exchange updates via Whatsapp, SMS, Snap Chat and the like. At night, the mobile usually ends up under the pillow or on the bedside table just in case someone still wants to share something. Many parents consider this intensive phone use as a given and only few realize what health risks it may pose.

Social pressure and FOMO

A Swedish study in 2008[1] among young people between 14 and 20 years showed that intensive users (texting and/or calling at least fifteen times a day) were more likely to suffer from disturbed sleep, stress and fatigue than those who used their mobile up to five times per day. The intensive users also consumed more drinks to keep them alert during the day. According to one of the researchers, this was partly due to the fact that young people increasingly feel the social pressure to be available 24 hours per day[2]. This fear of missing something is often referred to as "fear of missing out” (FOMO).

A Swedish study in 2012[3] among young adults also shows a connection between intensive use of ICT and mobile phones and sleeping disorders; in addition, a link is established to depression.

Health effects of radiation

Both Swedish studies establish a link between behaviour and use without regarding the specific influence of radiation. Several other studies, however, show that this influence is definitely there. They have demonstrated that radiation from mobile phones causes several sleeping problems[4 ][5] by disrupting the production of the sleep hormone melatonin[6][7] and that the EEG changes during sleep[8 ][9][10][11]. In addition, they link the radiation of wireless devices such as the mobile phone to stress[12][13][14].

Young people with a mobile phone will benefit from adequate information and practical tips, such as not wearing the mobile phone on the body, preferably using a headset and switching the device to airplane mode at night.

 

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[1] http://www.journalsleep.org/pdf/abstractbook2008.pdf, page 114