Nat. Taiwan University research: people drastically underestimate time spent using smartphones

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(Image from Unsplash user Campbell Boulanger)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A research project on smart phone use conducted by National Taipei University Hospital has discovered that the length of time spent on smart phones often drastically exceeds the amount of time people think they spend on their phones.

The results of the study, released on Saturday Jan. 20, found that college students in Taiwan may use their phones up to 50 percent more time than they assume.

On average, participants used their phones about 30 hours a week, but only believed they had used them for about 20.

The study was carried out using a phone application called “Know Addiction” that monitored total phone usage of the participants, reports HiNet.

The research essentially highlights a worrying trend that most people are already aware of, the excessive use of smartphones.

In addition to the health concerns that people are coming to recognize, the latest research emphasizes that people regularly underestimate the amount of time they are spending staring at their smartphone screens.

The blue light emitted from smartphones can stall the production of melatonin, which tells the body when it is time to sleep.

Beyond the overstimulation of the eyes by staring at the screen for an extended period of time, the lack of melatonin can be especially harmful for young people, since it can disrupt sleeping habits, which can lead to a variety of other health problems.

The physical position of the body while using smart devices can also cause muscle strain in the neck, back, shoulders and arms, like the modern ailment that has come to be known as "text-neck."

To decrease the health risks associated with too much smart phone use, researchers recommend limiting phone use to 30 to 40 minutes and then taking a break. It is also much safer to use phones at regular times during a day, to develop a routine, and then spend the majority of one's time engaging in other activities.