Your child with a smartphone may not be as smart, warn experts 

If gadget hygiene is not maintained, it is observed that children often suffer from insomnia and depression

electronic-addiction-among-the-childrenAre you proud of your child on how s/he uses smartphones, iPads or any other electronic gadgets so efficiently at their age? Psychiatrists and psychologists point how continuous use of gadgets is making children addicted to it.

In case of four-year-old girl Riya Sharma (name changed), her gadget addiction was so much that this toddler would never have food without an iPad being given in her hand. “The moment iPad or mobile phone was taken away from her, she refused to have food” said Dr Vasant Mundra, a consultant psychiatrist at PD Hinduja Hospital.

Electronic gadgets such as tablets, iPhones, iPads, mobiles phones have become addiction among children. Children as young as two years old are expertly using these devices which is having an adverse impact on their mental and physical health.

Another case, where a five-years-old boy Anmol Gandhi (name changed) would only keep calm when a tablet was given to him to play games. “When his parents got him to me, they complained of him being very restless and at the same time very quiet, where he would only play on tablets and denied playing outdoor games” said Mundra.

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Age group around 8 to 14 years old are more inclined towards electronic gadgets. “I have mostly observed the child is either addicted to playing games, chatting to friends or watching pornography online and these addiction often lead them to academic failure, makes them socially inactive and majorly affects their health where they crib on little things or become hyper-active ” said Dr Avinash D’souza, psychiatrist.

He further said parents should keep their children busy and should provide them substitution where they rarely use these gadgets. “Children now a day spend around eight to nine hours on these gadgets which makes their personality lazy and they are often bullied in the society” said D’souza.

Dr Seema Hingorrany, a clinical psychologist said that kids who are addicted to electronic devices are very hyper, aggressive, and also have lack of concentration which affects their academics. “Using these devices makes the kids lazy, due to which they sit at only one place, which generally leads to having more food and specially junk. These junk food and excess of food causes obesity among them” said Hingorrany.

She also added that, time management is must on how long you give your child access to these gadgets. “Parents should monitor their children on time and things they do on the gadgets. There are many sites and games which kids should not visit, parents monitoring on it would help them and their kids to be free from these addiction” said Hingoraany.

Six-and-a-half year old Anjali Mehta (name changed), was so much in love with the games on mobile phones that she would get very aggressive if parents refused to give it to her. “Anjali is visiting me from past four months, where I noticed the games which she was playing were very aggressive and which was affecting her mental health, so monitoring your kid is really important. It is very important that parents inculcate reading habits among children where they read positive things and which improves their brain rather than handing them these smartphones which are making them restless and aggressive” said Hingoraany.

Children now-a-days use their fingers more than their hands and chat more than talk. “Gadget hygiene is very important when it concerns children. One of the most important thing is to give your cell phone but do not gift it to them. Make sure when your child is having food, he does not use any gadgets. Kids should be pushed for outdoor games rather than handing them video games” said Dr Harish Shetty, psychiatrists at L H Hiranandani Hospital.

Shetty also said that if gadget hygiene is not maintained, it is observed that children often suffer from insomnia and depression. “Gadget hygiene, like physical hygiene or emotional hygiene, is very important for the family to prevent its misuse” said Shetty.

Priya Shinde (name changed), mother of a ten-year-old shares how her son has been detached from family parties and social gatherings. “My son has become so restless that he cannot even concentrate on his studies, all his attention is on mobile phone. Wherever he goes all he wants is, his phone. Be it family parties or outdoor activities his concentration is on his phone,” lamented Shinde.