Perils Of Smartphone Addiction In Kids

Smartphone addiction has become extremely common not just among adults but even kids || Photo: Collected

Smartphone addiction has become extremely common not just among adults but even kids || Photo: Collected

Living in a world surrounded by digital devices is surely a boon. However, it can take a baneful turn, when the same gadgets become a compulsion.

Smartphone addiction has become extremely common not just among adults but even kids.

About 23.80% of children are said to use smartphones while they are in bed, before going to sleep and 37.15% of children, always or frequently, experience reduced levels of concentration due to smartphone usage, as per a study conducted by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

Another study published in 2019 evaluated 41 studies published between 2011 and 2017 and suggested that 23% of children have “problematic smartphone usage” that leads to negative mental health effects.

Therefore, these alarming data highlight the need to address the problem and to help children productively use their smartphones.

The risk of smartphone addiction

As discussed, spending too much time on the smartphone can hurt children's physical and mental health. From behavioral problems, sleep disturbances, and depression, to obesity, nervous system problems, and slower social development skills, there could be many side effects of excessive phone usage.

Another problem that could arise is compulsive behavior, which refers to an urge to act persistently and repetitively. In this case, it could mean wanting to check the phone again and again, inability to break away, always being worried about losing the battery or forgetting a charger, etc. When these factors start affecting a child's daily life, that's when their smartphone usage becomes concerning.

Warning signs to note

The best place to start is to identify the signs of smartphone addiction. To help do that, here are some warning signs to watch out for in kids:

- Insomnia or difficulty in sleeping

- Anxiety or constant worry about his phone

- Anger and aggression

- Compulsion

- Self-isolation and distancing oneself from loved ones

- Distress when the child cannot find his/her phone

How to help children break away from overreliance on smartphones

While breaking away a child's addiction to smartphones can be challenging and overwhelming at the same time, it is not impossible, especially if you find creative ways to do that.

- Make family time necessary - do not allow screens during this time

- A strict smartphone schedule is key

- Avoid letting them use their phones at bedtime.

- Fix a screen time limit

- Do not use smartphones as a reward or distraction

- Identify their interests and play into it

- Do not lecture them on smartphone use rather lay down the pros and cons

Set good examples

As a parent, you should also make sure that you do not set the wrong examples. Adults are as capable as kids to get addicted to phones. So when you're in front of your children, avoid using your phones and spend more quality time with them.

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