Srinagar: In today’s digital world, it seems normal to see our children addicted to their phones, searching for various forms of entertainment and information online. While parents seem to be least bothered about the growing trend, experts believe it is equally important for children and adolescents to manage their screen time appropriately before developing smartphone addiction which may affect the mental health of children.
The experts in valley underline a series of the adverse effects of mobile addiction and screen-based technology on children’s psychology in Kashmir. They said that the children and adolescents are witnessing major psychological issues due to mobile addiction, gaming and the widespread use of digital devices in their daily lives.
They further said that early exposure to mobile screen and addiction of gaming may increase one’s susceptibility to developing health problems.
An independent research done by Kashmir based psychologists Muzzafar Ahmed, Danishwar Rasool Dar, and Dr. Rameez, has shed light on ways and methods of mobile phone usage, and its leading to addiction in children.
Nearly three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, screen usage has increased exponentially, especially among children, and as per a recent study published in JAMA Paediatrics, the average amount of time children spend staring at screens has risen 52 percent since the beginning of the pandemic.
Dr Muzzafar Ahmed, consultant clinical psychologist at Composite Regional Centre (CRC) Bemina, Srinagar while speaking about the side effects of mobile gaming said that from a psychological perspective, it was found that depression and anxiety are associated with gaming addiction in children, and same findings are reported regarding adults.
“Anxiety can be triggered gradually in heavy users when their smart phones are unavailable.”
The study further states that communication problems or a lack of social engagement, attention and concentration problems, behavioural problems, avoidance of developmental tasks, disinterest in other aspects of life, and physical problems are all listed as side effects of mobile gaming and fallout of phone addiction.
Prof. Dr. Reyaz Malik, a prominent paediatrician in the valley, while expressing concern over the mobile addiction among children, said that excessive usage of mobile screens affects the brain development of the child.
“There is a considerable increase in mobile addiction, not just among children but also among adults, but these smartphones usually leave negative mental health aspects in children because their brains are in developing phase,” Dr. Malik said.
He said there are some signs which indicate addiction towards smartphones like improper timing of sleep, being anxious, expressing anger or exhibiting aggressive behaviour or preferring isolation.
Urging the parents, Dr. Malik said that parents should set an example by spending time with their families and children after they finish their day’s work.
“Parents should keep their phones away and keep a family time wherein they will speak and be with their kids rather than being on phone, no screen time should be given space during family time. And even if the screen time is permitted, the exposure should be age-based and calculated,” he added.
“Make other physical activities or outdoor sports a part of the child’s life as well. If children show some aggressive behaviour, as a parent, you must set boundaries and explain that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable. Be firm and demonstrate that such behavior carries consequences,” the study reads.
It states that parents should teach their children alternative ways to express their feelings—ways that are socially acceptable and should encourage them to pursue other hobbies and interests, particularly sports and other physical activities.
(Syndicated feed from KNO)