Dear Friends and Digital Health Affiliates,

Have a great hump day (whether it’s an official holiday or not). Btw: We have been asked several times to open up our newsletter to the public – we are working on it. 🙂

Are tech companies the new tobacco companies? Phone addiction has become such a worldwide problem that even the Pope weighed in this month. After Pope Francis warned a group of high schoolers about it during a meeting at their school in Rome, Tim Cook followed last week and said he doesn’t want people to use their phones so much. Last year, Apple already addressed the problem in its suite of digital wellness tools, which included Screen Time, increased parental controls, and a way to silence notifications. [≈5min]

There’s an increase in mental health issues in teens and young adults in the US. A study finds that between 2009 and 2017 almost every 8th kid in America between 12 to 25 experienced a major depressive episode. In various age groups, the rate of depression increased by ≈ 50% between 2009 and 2017. However, the reasons are not yet clear. Social media and smartphones are often blamed, but evidence is not yet conclusive. [≈3min]

Considering the increase of mental health issues, one could applaud the wide availability of mental health apps. There are over 1,400 mental health apps available now. However, very few of them are evidence based. A recent study publish in Nature Digital Medicine found that only 14% provide evidence or peer-reviewed studies to back up their products. Without evidence digital mental health tools won’t see clinical adoption very soon. [≈3min]

No more iPad time? The WHO issued guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behavior and sleep for kids under the age of 5. Their recommendation can be summarized as: The less screen time, the better. Another worrying fact highlighted in the article: “Currently, over 23% of adults and 80% of adolescents are not sufficiently physically active.” [≈4min]  

Quote of the week: «Do I really need to be getting thousands of notifications a day? It’s not something that is adding value to my life, or is making me a better person.» – Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, Time100 Summit, 2019

Godspeed & have a productive week.

Dominik & Min-Sung

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