Spending Just 2 Hours Online Per Day Can Raise Blood Pressure

A new study found that teens who spend 14 or more hours per week online have elevated blood pressure. 

Shutterstock

Email, music streaming, homework, research, shopping. The Internet takes up a big chunk of our time, and it’s taking some significant jabs at our health, as well. 

In addition to increasing the risks of anxiety, depression, obesity, and more, scientists have recently discovered that time spent online is also damaging our heart health.

Researchers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI, administered a blood pressure examination and an Internet use survey to over 300 teenagers and found that even just two hours of online time per day can result in elevated blood pressure.

The study found that the average teen spends about 15 hours a week online. And for teenagers labeled by the researchers as “heavy Internet users” (those who spend two or more hours per day on the web), online time jumps to 25 hours each week. Almost 20 percent of the heavy Internet users had elevated blood pressure, and 43 percent were considered overweight.

Lead study author Andrea Cassidy-Bushrow, Ph.D., MPH, expressed concern over the teens’ futures if their highly frequent Internet use is to continue:

“Using the Internet is part of our daily life, but it shouldn’t consume us. It’s important that young people take regular breaks from their computer or smartphone, and engage in some form of physical activity.”

She recommends that parents keep a close watch of their teens’ online activity and that schools begin assessing students’ blood pressure levels and Internet use habits.

For more about Internet safety, visit the technology section of our online health resource guide for teens. Also, check out this blog post about how to get teens to open up about their tech habits.