Other problems associated with sitting still using technology for long periods of time include diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
Psychologists predict that by the time a child born today reaches the age of seven, he or she will have spent a whole year glued to their parents’ laptops, phones and television screens.
Dr Aric Sigman has warned of the detrimental effects of ‘screen-time’ on cognitive development in children. Watching a screen for long periods of time is thought to increase the risk of mental health problems such as addiction and depression. The American Academy of Pediatrics found that when young people spent too much time on social media sites they began to show classic signs of depression, including:
- low mood
- feelings of worthlessness.
With more children than ever spending significant amounts of time playing video games, watching television and using laptops, tablets and smart phones, the damaging effects of prolonged screen time are becoming increasingly evident.
The average 10-year-old now has access to five different screens at home, while the average British teenager spends six hours every day gazing at some form of screen.
Research suggests that the negative effects of screen-time kick in after only two hours of viewing time.
Dr Sigman wrote: “The advice from a growing number of both researchers and medical associations and government departments elsewhere is becoming unequivocal – reduce screen time.”
Parents can help children by supervising and structuring their time in front of technology. For instance: by giving a time limit on telly time, or partaking in educational Internet activities together. Technology offers great potential for learning development but activities must be monitored and time spent partaking must be reduced to prevent addiction.
To find out more about the impact of technology addiction and how it can be treated, please visit our Internet Addiction page.
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