Gadgets are hurting your child

Birthdays, Diwali, Christmas… the top gift for under 5s has been iPads for the third year in a row. And it’s not surprising that parents are opting for the digital babysitter to occupy their kids while they go about their chores, or even zone out in front of their favourite TV shows at the end of a busy day. And thus far, the entire debate on giving young hands these gadgets so early in life has revolved around developmental delays, and mental issues. But what about the physical implications?

Four-year-old Ayush* first complained about eye pain after he’d watched videos the entire evening. The next morning it was a headache. And his mom decided to finally take him to the doctor after symptoms persisted for a few days. He was diagnosed with gadget addiction after the doctor took a brief history of the child’s everyday activities.

In Meghna*, the symptoms manifested differently. She had watering eyes, back pain and withdrawal symptoms when refused access to the iPad. Again, she was diagnosed with gadget addiction by her family doctor.

Dr. Guhan says, “These days, kids prefer sitting with their parents’ phones or their own iPads as opposed to playing outdoors. This reduction in physical activity is responsible for so many issues – they don’t tire enough, they sleep late, they eat less, their biological clock is messed up and they have other physical issues like slouched and poor posture, back and neck pain, eye issues and headaches.” He urges parents to reign it in when it’s not yet too late.

 

Malini Luthra, who studies child development in Goregaon, has also noticed an alarming increase in developmental delays in gadget-addicted kids in physical traits.  “Kids these days aren’t writing as quickly as the previous generation used to. This swiping on screens doesn’t permit the regular dexterity and fine motor skill development that kids used to get by holding chalk and crayons to learn writing.”   There are also cases of multiple misdiagnoses. Kids with speech development delays because of gadget addiction are being diagnosed with autism or on the spectrum, even though they only have communication issues.   What to do if you think your kid might be addicted to gadgets  1.	Restrict screen time strictly 2.	Encourage outdoor play and physical activity 3.	Try not gifting gadgets to other kids 4.	Encourage interpersonal communication, reading and story-telling 5.	Set good examples. If you or your partner are always on the phone, your child seems to think they’re entitled to be as well

Malini Luthra, who studies child development in Goregaon, has also noticed an alarming increase in developmental delays in gadget-addicted kids in physical traits.

“Kids these days aren’t writing as quickly as the previous generation used to. This swiping on screens doesn’t permit the regular dexterity and fine motor skill development that kids used to get by holding chalk and crayons to learn writing.”

There are also cases of multiple misdiagnoses. Kids with speech development delays because of gadget addiction are being diagnosed with autism or on the spectrum, even though they only have communication issues.

What to do if you think your kid might be addicted to gadgets

  1. Restrict screen time strictly
  2. Encourage outdoor play and physical activity
  3. Try not gifting gadgets to other kids
  4. Encourage interpersonal communication, reading and story-telling
  5. Set good examples. If you or your partner are always on the phone, your child seems to think they’re entitled to be as well

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