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Online activity risking health of young people: WHO

Washington (May 17, 2017): A new report issued by the World Health Organization has warned that high use of computers, cell phones and social media is leading to an increasing risk of serious health issues.

The study, Adolescent obesity, and related behaviors: trends and inequalities in the WHO European Region 2002–2014, based on the findings of a questionnaire sent to more than 200,000 children in 42 countries and it found a steep increase between 2002 and 2014 in the proportion of children and young people using technology for two hours or more each weekday for things like social media, surfing the internet and homework, whereas use increased for both genders, it showed more than triple for girls aged 15 and over during this period, with experts blaming the rise of social media.

The research findings also found that children as young as 11 spending a large chunk of time online. When it came to using computers, tablets or smartphones just for games, between a third and two-thirds of children were spending two or more hours every weekday on them. Experts say this is leading to an increasing risk of ill-health, with the vast majority of young people also failing to take the recommended level of exercise each day.

The authors say that risks like cyber bullying, impact on mental health, as well as lost sleep are being witnessed due to the increasing use of technology. Meanwhile, the report also said that Ireland was among the countries with the lowest prevalence of 15-year-old girls watching TV for two hours or more per day. while approximately 60% of 15-year-old boys from Ireland participated in vigorous physical activity four times a week or more in 2014. Moreover, interestingly Ireland was among the countries with the greatest overall decrease in adolescent daily soft-drinks consumption. It also had one of the biggest drops, 24%, in those eating sweets daily.


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