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Student Research Guide WQ23/ Physical Impacts of Excessive Phone and Screen Use on Teens

By Alexa Morrow

Major Findings From This Research

Cell phone addiction is most common in teenagers:

   Research has shown that adolescents under the age of 20 are the most common age group affected by cell phone addiction. Within the United States, 95 percent of teenagers have their own personal cell phone and 78 percent of those teenagers check their phone at least hourly, if not more (Hurley, LCSW, 2022). There are several reasons why teenagers feel the need to spend an excessive amount of time on their phone. Cell phones are a main source of communication for teenagers because of social media, facetime, websites for online socialization, messaging, etc. Some of the behavioral issues in teenagers can be caused from cell phone addiction.

Short and long term insomnia can be brought on from cell phone addiction:

   Children ages 12-17 are more prone to using an electronical device for an excessive amount of time before bed (Sleep Foundation). For teenagers to properly function the next day and be able to fuel their brain and body, they need to get at least 8 hours of sleep (CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). According to John Hopkins Medicine, additional sleep supports the development of the brain and physical growth spurts (John Hopkins Medicine). When a teenager is not receive the right amount of sleep because they are on their phone, insomnia can form. When insomnia goes untreated, it becomes a pathway for more health problems such as depression, obesity, increased risk of heart attacks, etc.

Excessive cell phone usage can cause issues on cervical posture and mobility:

   When an individuals daily usage of their cell phone becomes too much, it increases the risk that damage will be done to the cervical spine and neck muscles. Because teenagers are the most affected age group for cell phone addiction, they are also the most frequently subjected to muscular disturbance in the craniocervical area (Kee, et al., 2016). Certain positions when looking at a phone such as slouching, rounded back, and a flexed back can cause hyperextension of the spine and upper cervical vertebrae. Hyperextension causes pain and damage to the tissue that supports the neck and head, ligaments, joints, and muscles (NIH. Kee, et al.,2016).

Research Advice and Reflection

Advice for future researchers:

   My advice for future researchers it to take your time when searching for accurate information, and make sure to use reliable sources and databases such as Academic Search Complete, ProQuest, Pew Research Center, Mayo Clinic. From the very beginning of starting my research I made sure to not rush the process of finding data and information, instead I took my time and went through many articles and databases to filter out any sources that I believed were bias or not reliable. Doing this helped me be more focused, organized, and my research guide and topic paper were easier to put together. 

Reflection on research experience:

   I found the process of finding information for my research to be mostly smooth sailing because the instructions and help given to me made it clear and understandable on what I was supposed to do and what the best databases were to find scholarly journals and articles to help make good progress on my research. The biggest part I struggled with was finding specific articles relating to my topic when using key terms and phrases. A big part of my topic was focused on teenagers instead of any other age group, and a lot of the statistics I used are narrowed down to the U.S instead of the whole world. A lot of articles I had found were not as specific as I needed them to be, so it was difficult to find credible sources that included each part of my topic. The most exciting part was the end result of finishing my research guide and paper. When have had worked on a research project for weeks, it was exciting to see all of the information and different parts of my research come together. After investigating this topic more closely, it has made me more aware of how much time I spend on my phone because of the long-term damage it can have on my brain and body.

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