The Johnny Green

The student news site of Weedsport

The Johnny Green

The student news site of Weedsport

The Johnny Green

The student news site of Weedsport

Do Phones Really Have an Impact on Mental Health?


When your parents say it’s because of that dang phone, are they actually telling the truth, or just wanting you to get off your phone?

A hot topic that has been circulating the news recently is if phones and other electronics genuinely have an impact on a person’s mental health. To understand if electronics have an effect on mental health and certain disorders, you have to understand what happens to people’s brain waves and chemical levels when going through a rough time due to their mental health.

When someone is suffering from a mental health disorder, people don’t really know what to do because their brain works in a different way than one without chemical and brain wave imbalances. Slow brain waves are recorded when someone is suffering from ADHD, OCD, while sleeping, or even being in a coma. Fast brain waves are recorded when someone has anxiety, PTSD, and epilepsy. Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health disorders world wide.

When living with depression brain waves are overactive in the left frontal cortex. When living with anxiety there is a decrease in alpha waves, increase in beta waves, and low delta and theta waves. The chemical balance in your brain can become unbalanced when suffering through mental health disorders. The chemical balances in your brain can deplete the amount of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine when going through mental health disorders. When suffering through depression and anxiety specifically there are reduced levels of serotonin. 

Let’s take a look at when phones didn’t have all the media that we have now and the impact that it had on mental health back then. The first smartphone came out in 1993, which was a flip phone, only allowing calls. The amount of people who suffered from depression in 1992 was less than 5%. In 1993 the amount of people who suffered from depression was 6.3%, which was when the first flip phone/smartphone came out. In a span of one year the amount of people who got diagnosed with depression went up 1.3%.  In a study that came out from Yale School of Medicine it says, “It found that youth who spent the most time on their digital technology were statistically more likely to exhibit higher levels of internalizing problems two years later. Internalizing problems include depression, anxiety, social anxiety, somatic complaints, and other concerns. This association between frequent screen time and mental health problems was mediated by specific changes in brain development.”

The greatest effect phones have on people is through social media. Most mental disorders are developed through time, because there is a gene that one parent can pass down that makes the child eventually form that specific disorder, and this plays a role. 50% of people who suffer from depression get it from being passed down from their parents, and by having this imbalance, the media just makes it worse. Media can make depression worse because young girls and boys will see all of these people living their lives and being happy, or see that they look a certain way and make young children contemplate what they can do to look like that, or live that way. 

As BMC Psychiatry has said, phones are taking over our lives, and becoming a lifestyle. A way that most commonly phones affect humans is by the blue light that they put out. A cell phone can emit a blue light, which interferes with sleep because blue light decreases the amount of melatonin being made throughout the body, and when you don’t get enough melatonin, you don’t sleep, and can eventually turn into insomnia. Although insomnia has been around for a long time, phones are making more and more people get diagnosed with insomnia. When someone doesn’t get enough sleep, they become so over tired to the point where they don’t sleep a lot anymore, which causes depression, anxiety, paranoia, and so many other mental problems. 

The most important way that phone’s and technology affect humans is by the social isolation they put humans through. Most teenagers love going out and hanging out with their friends, but almost all teenagers go through a “phase” where they don’t leave their rooms and they are constantly on their phones, isolating themselves from people and real world experiences. 

Overall, when your parents say it is because of your phone, they mean that because phones play an enormous role in mental health, but so does the person. Having bad mental health from phones can be avoidable. Although avoiding the thoughts that you feel can be hard, it is not impossible. Phones can cause mental health to drain, but the person who is behind the phone is also letting it drain them.


Potenza, M. (2023, March 21). Study probes connection between excessive screen media activity and mental health problems in Youth. Yale School of Medicine. 

Hashemi, S., Ghazanfari, F., Ebrahimzadeh, F., Ghavi, S., & Badrizadeh, A. (2022, December 2). Investigate the relationship between cell-phone over-use scale with depression, anxiety and stress among university students – BMC psychiatry. BioMed Central. 


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