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Vulnerable Minds Of Young Adults

Sapien Labs, a pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals manufacturing firm based in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh, has mentioned in its latest study report that overuse of smartphones can hamper mental well-being of young adults.

As per the pioneering large-scale global study carried out by Sapien Labs, if a young adult spends a lot of time on smartphone, then it may cause a rapid decline in her/his mental health. In other words, the earlier a child uses a smartphone, the worse her/his mental health is as an adult. While the overuse of smartphones is not so good for both genders, the trend is worse for girls. The Labs has explained that an increase in the usage of smartphones often triggers a decline in the mental health of young adults aged 18-24 by isolating them from society.

Commenting on the issue, Tara Thiagarajan, the Chief Scientist and Founder of Sapien Labs, has stressed: “Data shows that people now spend 7-10 hours online. This leaves little time for in-person social engagement. Prior to the Internet, by the time someone turned 18, we estimate that they would likely have spent anywhere from 15,000 to 25,000 hours interacting with peers and family in person.” The Internet Age has reduced this range to 1,500-5,000 hours, she added.

According to Thiagarajan, people learn how to read facial expressions, body language, physical touch, appropriate emotional responses, conflict resolution, life skills, etc. from social interaction. She has opined that all these are crucial for socio-emotional development of a person. Else, people may feel detached from society and harbour suicidal thoughts.

Meanwhile, researchers have found that the mental well-being of each younger age group of adults has fallen dramatically since the outbreak of COVID-19 Pandemic in December 2019. After analysing data collected from 34 countries, they have come to the conclusion that the decline, especially for young adults (aged 18-24), had actually begun in 2010 mainly because of the growth of smartphone use. Before 2010, young adults had the highest levels of psychological well-being. However, the trend has been in the opposite direction since then.

The study has further mentioned that the key symptoms of the impact (of the overuse of smartphones) on the mind of the majority of young adults (aged 18-24) are significantly amplified or deteriorated compared to that of older adults. These symptoms include obsessive, strange or unwanted thoughts, self-image, self-worth and confidence, feelings of being detached from reality, relationships with others, suicidal thoughts, fear and anxiety, and feelings of sadness, distress or hopelessness.

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