Screen Dependency Disorder Is Real And Can Damage Your Child’s Brain


Screen Dependency Disorder Is Real And Can Damage Your Child’s Brain

The digital era has made our lives drastically more convenient and easy, but it has also brought many negative consequences.

Look around you at any given time; you’ll notice numerous people, particularly kids, staring in their digital devices and their big screens. Many parents use smartphone and tablets as the best way to solve the issues with boredom and temper tantrums in their kids.

However, “screen time” has been found to lead to various mental health and behavioral problems in young kids.

Studies have demonstrated that video games and smartphone apps lead to addictive behavior, mostly due to extensive exposure to (unregulated) screen time.

The brains of kids are still not developed, so they’re prone to changes in structure and connectivity that can stunt neural development and cause a screen dependency disorder, like:

  • Internet addiction disorders
  • Internet gaming disorder
  • Facebook addiction
  • Pathological technology use
  • Online game addiction
  • Mobile phone dependence
  • Problematic internet use
  • Compulsive internet use
  • Pathological video game use
  • Social network site addiction
  • Video game addiction

The research paper by psychologist Dr. Aric Sigman, published in the Journal of the International Child Neurology Association, defines addiction as a term increasingly used to describe the growing number of kids engaging in several screen activities in a dependent, problematic manner.

The symptoms below show that the screen time of your kid compromises its ability to function:

  • Preoccupation
  • Loss of outside interests
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Increasing tolerance
  • Failure to reduce or stop screen activities
  • Lying about the extent of use
  • Use to escape adverse moods
  • Continuation despite negative consequences

A 2015 study published in Behavioral Sciences (Basel) demonstrated that 12% of young American adolescent gamers are “pathological video-gamers.”

Psychotherapist Dr. George Lynn maintains that 80% of his patients’ issues are caused by excessive gaming, watching too many online videos, or excessive use of social media.

He adds that most doctors, family doctors, and even psychiatric practitioners don’t see the obvious truth that the personality issues of a kid may be due to only getting two to three hours of sleep at night, according to Healthy Food House.

Family Life and Child Development specialist and Early Childhood Education consultant, Claudette Avelino-Tandoc, explains that a kid’s screen dependency disorder might cause symptoms like weight gain or loss, insomnia, loneliness, back pain, vision problems, anxiety, headaches, dishonesty, and feelings of guilt.

However, the long-term effects include brain damage and scientists have found that screen dependency disorder makes the brains shrink or lose tissue in the frontal lobe, striatum, and insula, and those areas govern planning and organization skills, suppression of socially unacceptable impulses, and our capacity to develop compassion and empathy.

If the kid seems to exhibit the symptoms mentioned above, Avelino-Tandoc advises parents to seek help by a development pediatrician to have their kid appropriately diagnosed.

Parents or caregivers need to explain the doctor their kid’s behavior as they have observed at home, and he might also have his own set of tests and questions for both, the parents and their kid.

Avelino-Tandoc explains that gadgets and devices aren’t bad, as they can be powerful tools for communication, learning, and entertainment, but balance in the use is the key.

Parents need to manage the balanced use of technology at home. Along with using gadgets, parents need to find a way to stimulate their children to develop physically, improve their language and socio-emotional skills, as well as do hands-on learning.

Students need to be encouraged to draw, color and scribble using real materials instead of their tablets and smartphones. If they’re fond of building structures, parents should find appropriate material they can manipulate and pile, and replace their devices with blocks and boxes.

The most important thing, however, is to encourage kids to interact with peers face-to-face and play outdoors with friends.

The American Academy of Pediatrics’ new recommendations for kids’ media use and Dr. Lynn’s methods are as follows:

  • For kids younger than 18 months, avoid the use of screen media other than video-chatting.
  • In the case of kids ages six and older, the time should be limited, and parents should ensure the media doesn’t take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity, and other significant behaviors
  • Limit screen use to an hour daily of high-quality programs for kids ages 2 to 5 years. Also, parents should be with their kids to help them understand what they are seeing.
  • Make sure that you emphasize the importance of online citizenship and safety, as well as treating others with respect online and offline.
  • Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, and media-free locations at home, for example, the bedrooms.



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Thinking Humanity: Screen Dependency Disorder Is Real And Can Damage Your Child’s Brain
Screen Dependency Disorder Is Real And Can Damage Your Child’s Brain
The digital era has made our lives drastically more convenient and easy, but it has also brought many negative consequences.
Thinking Humanity
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