Some teen girls using smartphone up to 6 hours per day, study finds

A survey of teen girls found that some high schoolers spend, on average, more than five hours a day on their smartphones.

According to research published in the British Medical Journal, such high levels of smartphone use are linked to increased anxiety among teen girls, many of whom dedicate their scrolling time to social media.

Based on the responses of 1,164 students at 49 high schools in Finland, researchers found that 17% of the teens are potentially addicted to social media, and more than a third have potential anxiety disorders.

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"Daily time spent on social media was associated with lower grade point average, higher social media addiction scores, higher levels of anxiety, and poorer body image," the study concluded.

"And social media addiction scores were associated with higher levels of anxiety, poorer body image, poorer health, lower mood, more tiredness and greater feelings of loneliness."


New study says some teen girls spend up to 6 hours a day on their phones (Photo illustration by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Researchers used screenshots submitted by the teens to record the number of days with screen time data available, daily smartphone pickups, type of most frequently used apps, and time spent using each of them.

Researchers then divided by the number of days to arrive at average daily screen time. Similarly, total app use time was divided by the number of days with data available to find the average daily time spent on different activities.

The average time spent on smartphones was 5.2 hours a day, but 14% of the teen girls spent upwards of 6 hours a day on their phones.

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"The implications of nearly 6 hours of daily smartphone use and its associations with adolescent wellbeing are serious," researchers concluded. "While some advocate for increased mental health services to tackle the rise in adolescent anxiety, no services will suffice unless the root causes are addressed.

"Policymakers should strengthen safety standards and urge technology companies to prioritize safety and health in the development of social media."