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YoungMinds encourage taking a break from smartphones

Cyber Aware is working with the mental health charity to encourage everyone to have a #techfree15 minutes to contribute to their own wellbeing

Posted by Charley Rogers | October 20, 2017 | E-safety

With new research demonstrating the scale of smartphone use among young people, YoungMinds and the government’s Cyber Aware campaign are highlighting the benefits of taking a break from technology and doing something positive for your mental health

A new poll from YoungMinds and Cyber Aware reports that over a fifth (21%) of 18-25 year-olds surveyed spend more than 6 hours a day on their smartphones. This is despite the fact that more than half of them (60%) agree that they would benefit from taking a short break from their smartphones.

Results from UK young people aged 18-25 responding to the Ipsos MORI online poll also showed that:

  • When forced to go without their smartphones during the past 12 months, over a third of young people surveyed (34%) agree that they felt anxious about what they were missing.
  • Two-thirds (66%) of young people surveyed have checked their smartphones during dinner with family or friends.
  • More than half of young people surveyed (55%) say that they have missed what a friend, partner or family member was saying because they were distracted by their smartphone

YoungMinds and Cyber Aware are highlighting the benefits for young people of managing their phone use, and encouraging them to take a break from their smartphones to help improve their wellbeing and cyber security. 

It’s important that young people learn how to manage the way they use social media and to take a break if it’s affecting their wellbeing. - Dr Marc Bush, YoungMinds

Cyber Aware is also encouraging everyone to have a #techfree15 minutes to install their software and app updates. They contain security updates which are designed to fix weaknesses in software and apps which could be used by hackers to attack your device and steal your identity.

Dr Marc Bush from Young Minds said: “Access to smartphones can bring huge benefits for young people, but it does come with pressure for young people to be constantly available and to compare their own lives to the ‘perfect’ lives that others are leading. Research we have carried out with Cyber Aware shows that more than half of young people feel they would benefit from taking a break from their smartphones. It’s important that young people learn how to manage the way they use social media and to take a break if it’s affecting their wellbeing. It can be positive for your mental health to break the pattern of constantly checking your smartphone, and to spend more time being aware of the environment around you, getting exercise, talking to people face-to-face, relaxing or doing things you love.”

Psychologist and wellbeing expert, Honey Langcaster-James, said: “The good news is 50% of young people are trying to consciously have more tech-free time. We all tend to underestimate the amount of time we spend on our smartphones. Taking a tech-free 15 whilst you install your software and app updates and using that time to relax or communicate with loved ones is a starting point and means you can have both a healthy mind and phone. Software updates contain vital security updates which help protect your devices from cyber criminals. Installing them as soon as possible helps to keep your device secure and allows your mind to rest at ease.” 

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