BIOMEDICAL JOURNAL OF PIROGOV RNRMU (MOSCOW, RUSSIA)
The impact of electronic devices on the physical growth and development of modern youth and recommendations on their safe use
The impact of excessive exposure to electronic devices (ED) on youth health remains understudied. There is a pressing need to develop recommendations for the safe use of stationary and mobile ED aimed at minimizing health risks. In this work, we assess the effect of ED on the physical growth and development of high-school and university students and provide recommendations for preventing the negative impact of prolonged screen time on health. The study recruited 460 high-school and 598 university students. Standard anthropometric measurements were taken. The psychological and emotional state of the participants was evaluated using the Test Anxiety Inventory by Spielberg (modified by Khanin). To estimate daily and weekly exposure to ED the participants were asked to fill out standardized questionnaires. In high school students, the average screen time was 7 h a day; in university students, 8.5 to 10 h a day. Only 60% of the participants, regardless of their place of residence or the type of educational institution they were attending, were physically healthy. We conclude that prolonged and frequent exposure to ED is one of the factors that can interfere with normal physical growth and development in youth. Regular daily use of stationary ED increases the risk of developing body weight deficit by 24% and gaining excess body weight by 10%. We recommend that students should eliminate computers, laptops and stationary ED from their daily activities for at least one day at the weekend and reduce total screen time to 3 hours a day.
Keywords: health, electronic devices, information and communication technologies, physical growth and development, psycho-emotional state, high-school students, university students