More and more children around the world are developing an internet addiction that is having a massive negative impact on their lives. Many of these kids would prefer to browse the internet or play on their smartphone than to go outside to play with friends. This is becoming a huge concern for worried parents and experts alike, who feel that these children will not perform as well in school or other activities. Doctors have described technology as ‘cocaine for their minds’, as it is evident that many youngsters are becoming dependent on the internet and having their devices with them at all times.

Increasingly Concerned

It is becoming clear that youngsters who own smartphones and tablets from an early age are becoming obsessed with them; this means that often, these kids are becoming disinterested in traditional childhood hobbies such as reading or sport. This obsession can also result in irritability along with aggression and sleep deprivation as the children will often stay up later than normal browsing the internet and gaming.

Severe Outbursts

Dr Nicholas Kardaras wrote in the New York Post about a patient of his, Susan, who had a young son aged just six years old who became addicted to the online game Minecraft. Susan first thought that it was harmless and that the game could even be educational for her son; however, she soon realised that this was definitely not the case. Dr Kardaras wrote in his post, “Susan couldn’t deny she was seeing changes in John. He started getting more and more focused on his game and losing interest in baseball and reading while refusing to do his chores. Some mornings he would wake up and tell her that he could see the cube shapes in his dreams. Although that concerned her, she thought her son might just be exhibiting an active imagination. As his behaviour continued to deteriorate, she tried to take the game away, but John threw temper tantrums. His outbursts were so severe that she gave in, still rationalising to herself over and over again that ‘it’s educational’.”

Uphill Battle

Dr Kardaras went on to explain, “Then, one night, she realised that something was seriously wrong. ‘I walked into his room to check on him. He was supposed to be sleeping — and I was just so frightened’. She found him sitting up in his bed staring wide-eyed, his bloodshot eyes looking into the distance as his glowing iPad lay next to him. He seemed to be in a trance. Beside herself with panic, Susan had to shake the boy repeatedly to snap him out of it. Distraught, she could not understand how her once-healthy and happy little boy had become so addicted to the game that he wound up in a catatonic stupor,” he added.

After this, Susan refused to allow John to use his tablet or the internet anymore, but ‘recovery was an uphill battle, with many bumps and setbacks along the way’. Four years on and John is a changed child after his use of gaming and the internet was restricted.

Electronic Cocaine

Recent studies have shown that gaming and internet addictions have the same effect on a child’s mind as cocaine would. Specific studies have shown that brain imaging research has highlighted that certain devices can affect the brain’s frontal cortex in the same way that a Class A drug would. It has also been speculated that internet and technology use can, in fact, raise dopamine levels as much as sexual activity. Many experts have been naming excessive internet and technology use as ‘electronic cocaine’ and ‘digital heroin’.

Help and Support

Technology and gaming addictions are becoming increasingly common, with more and more youngsters having access to the internet through mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Nevertheless, while some access to the internet can be beneficial for children, it is something that needs to be monitored to prevent these types of problems arising.

If you are a concerned parent worried about your child’s internet and technology use, then please make sure you contact us here at Liberty House immediately. We specialise in helping youngsters to overcome an internet addiction, and it is our goal to ensure that your child will recover and go on to lead a healthier lifestyle afterwards.

Our clinic is both a comfortable and safe environment in which our clients can complete a programme of treatment, and our staff are friendly and welcoming; they ensure all feel supported and happy here. We want nothing more than for your child to overcome his or her internet addiction and move on to become a happier and healthier person. If you have any queries or any general enquiries, then do not hesitate to get in touch with us. At the end of the day, we want to do everything in our power to help your child beat their addiction once and for all.

 

Source: Tech addiction is ‘digital heroin’ for kids – turning children into screen junkies (metro.co.uk)