By Joe Morgan via SWNS
Using your smartphone for two hours a day could be the "sweet spot" that can improve health and life satisfaction - without the device's negative effects, a new study from Germany suggests.
People who reduce their smartphone usage by an hour a day are more likely to relieve symptoms of depression, and anxiety and be more physically active, say scientists from the public research university Ruhr-Universität Bochum.
Users may even find it easier to stop smoking as it can improve addiction-like behavior, according to the findings.
But banning smartphone usage completely does not work either as people will just return to their normal usage after the abstinence is over, researchers found.
On average most people spend more than three hours a day glued to smartphone screens which can lead to obesity, neck pain and other addictive behaviors.
In the study, 619 participants each either had to do without their smartphones completely for a week, reduced their daily use by one hour, or used the phone in the same way as before.
The one-week experiment had a massive impact on the group.
While some in the abstinence group continued, and some used it as much as 38 minutes less per day after four months, this was inconsistent.
The participants who spent one hour less per day with the phone still used it for around 45 minutes less per day after four months.
At the same time, life satisfaction and time spent being physically active increased.
Symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as nicotine consumption, decreased.
Dr. Julia Brailovskaia, at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany, said: "The smartphone is both a blessing and a curse.”
“We found that both completely giving up the smartphone and reducing its daily use by one hour had positive effects on the lifestyle and well-being of the participants."
"In the group who reduced use, these effects even lasted longer and were thus more stable than in the abstinence group.”
“It’s not necessary to completely give up the smartphone to feel better. There may be an optimal daily usage time.”
The report was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.
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