Growing up with the internet at their fingertips, and not knowing any different, children are more likely to develop an internet addiction when compared to the older generations who grew up without it. Kids are becoming ever more reliant on the internet to provide them with their entertainment, rather than going out to play with friends. This is becoming a concern, and many experts believe that the majority of children are being allowed to grow up to develop an internet addiction because their parents do not limit the amount of time spent browsing the web.
A recent report from regulatory body Ofcom has highlighted the fact that children aged five and under are already spending up to five hours a day browsing the internet on tablets and smartphones as well as watching the television. It can be quite difficult to keep a child away from technology nowadays as it is literally everywhere you turn; however, this is proving to be more of an issue than originally thought. Literacy advisor and author of Toxic Childhood, Sue Palmer, has had her say on the issue: “The findings are very, very worrying. There are so many other things that kids of that age should be doing. We have to make a real effort to get children outdoors. The main problem is that screen time is substituting for vital developmental necessities like all round physical motor skills and social and communication skills. We really need national guidelines on technology use for children.”
Detrimental Impacts on Health
The American Society of Paediatrics has explained that the more exposed children are to the internet and television, the more it can be linked to various sleeping disorders, developmental issues and lifetime obesity. This is also heavily influenced by the amount of time that the child’s parents spend watching the television and browsing the internet. Constant research into the issue is proving that the regular use of the internet and television can have a detrimental impact on the overall health and wellbeing of a child.
Feeding the Addiction
Chris McGovern of the Campaign for Real Education said, “What it is indicative of is a growing addiction to digital technology, which is having a negative physiological effect on the brain. The majority of schools encourage children to use digital devices as part of learning, but they are feeding the addiction, and the addiction is then going home.”
Parents Should Take Control
Many health organisations in the US have recommended that children under the age of two should have no access to the internet or television while children under the age of five should be given limited access of just one hour a day. They also believe that those under the age of eighteen should only be permitted to use these for a maximum of two hours per day. However, these guidelines have not been put into place in the UK as of yet, so ultimately it lies with the parents to take this under control and ensure that their child is not developing an internet addiction.
Easy Access to the Internet
Despite the warnings that parents should be limiting their children’s access to the internet and television because of the damaging impact on their health, as the technology is so readily available, this is nearly impossible. Children can gain access to the internet almost anywhere as it can be accessed through smartphones, tablets, and even on computers at school and the library, which can make it difficult to control.
If parents take charge while the children are at home and dramatically reduce the amount of time their kids are spending online and watching television, then they will be improving their child’s chances of leading a healthier life compared to a child who is spending hours at a time on the internet.
Tackling an internet addiction can be tough because technology is everywhere and abstinence is virtually impossible. Nevertheless, with the right support from professional counsellors and therapists, it is possible to get this type of illness under control.
Help and Support
If you are concerned that your child is suffering from an internet addiction and are not sure what to do, contact us here at Liberty House. We help individuals suffering from a variety of addictions using different treatments that include counselling, therapy, and a variety of holistic treatments.
If you require any further information about our treatment packages or our clinic, do not hesitate to contact us today. We are always more than happy to assist those looking to begin a journey to recovery.
Source: Alarming Figures Show How Kids Below 5 are Becoming Online Addicts (University Herald)