Prolonged Mobile Phone Use Is Associated with Poor Academic Performance in a Large Sample of Adolescent Students in China
26 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2019More...
Background: Prolonged mobile phone use (MPU) is prevalent in adolescents. This study examined the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between prolonged MPU and academic performance in Chinese adolescents.
Methods: Participants were 11,831 adolescents who participated in the Shandong Adolescent Behavior and Health Cohort in 2015. We used a self-administered questionnaire to collect data on demographics, weekday and weekend MPU, sleep duration, insomnia, depression, and academic performance. We obtained a subsample's year-end achievement test scores for Chinese, Mathematics, and English, 3 months after baseline survey (n=856).
Findings: The mean participant age was 15.0 (SD=1.5) and 51% were boys. Approximately 10% participants used mobile phone ≥ 2 hours/day on weekdays and 25% used mobile phone ≥ 4 hours/day on weekends. With prolonged MPU from ≥ 1 hour/day on weekdays and ≥ 2 hours/day on weekends, the prevalence of self-reported poor academic performance significantly increased, and the achievement test scores significantly decreased. After controlling for adolescent and family covariates, students who used mobile phone ≥ 2 hours/day on weekdays (OR =2.12, 95%CI =1.82-2.47) and ≥ 5 hours/day on weekends (OR =1.50, 95%CI = 1.31-1.72) were significantly more likely to report poor overall academic performance and scored significantly lower on Mathematics and English compared with those who used mobile phone <1 hour/day on weekdays and < 2 hours/day on weekends, respectively. The association between prolonged MPU and academic performance was partially mediated by reduced sleep duration, insomnia, and depression.
Interpretations: Prolonged MPU is associated with poor academic performance as measured by self-reports and subject tests in Chinese adolescents. Our findings suggest that adolescents should be advised to limit time of MPU to minimize its harmful effects on sleep, mental health and academic performance.
Funding Statement: This work was funded in part for data collection by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant number 81573233).
Declaration of Interests: All authors have no financial relationships relevant to this article to disclose. All authors have no conflict of interest to disclosure.
Ethics Approval Statement: The study was approved by the research ethics committee of Shandong University School of Public Health and target schools. Informed consent was obtained from participants and permission was obtained from parents before the survey.
Keywords: digital media, mobile phone, academic performance, adolescents, mental health
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