Effects of Smartphone Usage on Health of Undergraduate Medical Students at King Edward Medical University, Lahore
Background: Smartphones and hand-held devices have invaded our lives in the 21st century. Excessive use of smartphones has led to the various physical and psychological problems in the society.
Objective: To determine the effects of smartphone usage on physical & social health of undergraduate medical students of King Edward Medical University (KEMU), Lahore.
Methods: In this cross sectional study conducted at KEMU Lahore, in February 2018,243 undergraduate medical students, who had been using smartphones for more than a year, were included.Data were collected employing pretested, structured, and self-reported questionnaires by sending survey links through ‘WhatsApp’. Responses recorded about health effects (Physical & psychiatric) andsocial problems faced by the respondents using smartphones. These health effects were compared with the daily time spent on smartphones. Chi-square test was applied to find out the association between different variables of interest.
Results: Majority students reported disturbance and loss of concentration during studies due to smartphones usage. Significant difference was observed in both genders regarding year of MBBS course, daily hours spent on desktop/ laptop and smartphone usage while driving (p <0.05). Predominant reported problems were related to eye (in 64%), psychiatric symptoms (in 52.3%) and peer pressure (in 50%), besides other physical & social problems. Daily usage of smartphones for more than 2 hours (n=196), faced these problemsin excess as compared to those whose usage was less than 2 hours with significant difference in case of psychiatric symptoms (P<0.05).
Conclusion: Smartphone use leads to increased frequency of various physical, psychological & social health problems among medical students especially if daily usage exceeds two hours.
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