Last week the Telegraph published an article about a four-year-old ‘iPad addict’ who developed an obsession with the device after using it for up to four hours a day. The little girl’s mother said she would beg constantly to use it and show distress and agitation if the device was taken away from her.
Dr. Richard Graham, who treated the young girl, believes that the more parents allow children to use tablet devices, the more common this kind of addiction will become and the more serious the outcome will be for society in general. He also claims to have developed the world’s first technology addiction programme for young children.
“Children have access to the internet almost from birth now,” he told journalists. “They see their parents playing on their mobile devices and they want to play too. It’s difficult, because having a device can also be very useful in terms of having a reward, having a pacifier. But if you don’t get the balance right it can be very dangerous.”
Stimulating apps and games captivate children, causing them to react with tantrums and uncontrollable behaviour when the devices are taken away. Dr. Graham compared this kind of compulsive behaviour with that shown by drug and alcohol addicts who can’t function properly without the substance they’ve become dependent on.
A recent survey by website babies.co.uk found that over half of parents questioned allowed their babies to play with phones and tablet devices and one in seven allowed them to do this for more than four hours a day. For three to 12-month-old babies who are only awake for around 10 hours a day, this is a significant amount of time.
If you want to find out more about how counselling can help, you might find our Internet Addiction page helpful.
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