Warn of long-term body effects, especially in eyes and brain, along with mental issues
Srinagar, Jun 07 (KNO): The doctors have advised the parents to restrict smartphone usage by their children saying its addiction will have serious long-term ramifications.
Noted Pediatrician Dr Kaiser while talking to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) said that smartphone addiction is “more dangerous than drug addiction” as it affects the eyes, brain, bones and other vital body parts.
He said excessive usage of mobile screens affects the brain development of the child and parents should avoid giving phones to their children at least for up to six years of age. “On the phone, there is just one way of communication and by getting addicted to it, children like to spend most of their time with the phone and other objects with zero social interaction,” he said.
Dr Kaiser said the addiction has long-term effects and makes children completely isolated by changing their behaviour and making them violent, thereby affecting the development of the brain as well.
Phone addiction makes a child an emotionless body, he said, adding that with some interventions, there is a possibility that it can be reversed.
Parents have to play their role by investing time in their children and making a proper time schedule, he suggested. There must be a joint dinner and interaction with children which will help them in becoming social.
“If parents will be able to spend at least two hours with their children, discussing issues like weather, school and other things, it will definitely help children overcome the addiction,” the renowned paediatrician said. “Up to six years of age, phones must be avoided completely as these six years are the most important for growth. After that, phones can be given for half an hour to one hour but under proper supervision so that the child will see only positive and informative things. The screen time can be extended later with age; however, there must be proper supervision to avoid the negative content.”
Dr Bashir, another paediatrician told KNO that smartphone addiction among children is on the rise in Kashmir and there are some signs the parents should be aware of. He said improper timing of sleep, being anxious, expressing anger or exhibiting aggressive behavior or preferring isolation are the indications that the child is having smartphone addiction.
“Parents must spend their time with children and phones must be avoided that time. They must connect with the children emotionally. The parents also should not remain stuck to their phones when they are with their children,” he explained. “There are many potential health risks to mental and physical well-being due to overuse of cell phones, especially low IQ and improper mental growth in children, sleep deprivation, brain tumors and psychiatric diseases are hot-button issues.”
Parents must encourage their children to take part in outdoor games and teach them the ways to express their feelings, Dr Bashir added.
Dr Pranav Gupta, a renowned eye specialist, told KNO that the number of children having issues with their eyes is on the rise due to phone addiction. He said parents must avoid giving phones to children at least up to eight years of age.
Parents must engage children in outdoor games which is a must for both physical and mental well-being, Dr Gupta said.
A survey conducted on the increase in screen time for children during Covid times and its effects has found that 63 percent of parents consider their children to be addicted to the phone while 95 percent of parents consider that increased screen time affects the physical health of their children.
The first such survey conducted by the Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College Srinagar last year has been published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine and Public Health (JIMPH).
An official who was part of the survey told KNO that children today see a totally changed world where they are exposed to technology along with dependencies and needs on the internet and technology in the form of educational help, recreation, or even entertainment.
The maximum number of children belonged to the age group of 6 to 10 years, and most were males (56.1%). Phone (68.7%) was the most commonly used device, while 54.4% of children did not own an electronic device, he said.
“Approximately 62.9% of parents consider their children addicted to the phone, while 94 percent of parents consider that increased screen time affects the physical and mental health of their children. 61.6% of parents considered that the increased screen time decreased the academic ability of children,” he informed—(KNO)