Toddler iPad addiction requires psychological therapy. How about better parenting?

Bradley Wint
By: - 22nd Apr 2013
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Experts in the UK have warned parents that allowing toddlers and children to use tablets for several hours per day could have “dangerous” long term effects.

Dr Richard Graham of the Capio Nightingale clinic in London has warned parents that allowing their young children to play with tablets for several hours per day could lead to “dangerous” long term effects similar to that of an alcoholic.

He noted that children falling under this category displayed signs of increased “obsession” with tablets and became agitated whenever their parents took it away. Graham also mentioned that they behaviour could eventually lead to them not being able to form normal social relationships with other children their age, with the added feeling of them being drained at the end a long play session on the tablets.

In an interview on the Sunday Mirror, he said:

“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.

“They can’t cope and become addicted, reacting with tantrums and uncontrollable behaviour when they are taken away. Then as they grow older, the problem only gets worse. Even the most shy kids, when they hit their teens, suddenly want to become sociable and popular.”

There are also those who have added huge expenses to their parents’ bank accounts because of the lack of understanding of the value of real money.

Dr. Graham’s article was someone what of a hidden promo because he commented about his 28-day “digital detox” program where parents would fork up as much as £16,000 to have their kids weened from their tablet addiction, but is all that necessary? The problem definitely seems to be getting worse over time but it’s clear that parents are not taking the right steps to teach their kids about balancing play with work and other tasks.

While the facts about addiction do stand, requiring psychological therapy seems to be a more than avoidable situation in my opinion. Parents should depend on an iPad or any other tablet as a sole form of entertainment, but should still encourage their kids to take part in physical activities such as sports or going to the park and learning to interact with others. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to block tablet usage entirely, but there should be some balance between the two so that they don’t become dependent on technology as their main form of entertainment. Parents should live by the saying of “everything in moderation”. Instead of allowing children to play on their iPads for hours on end, maybe limit them to one hour of use per day and have them take part in another physical activity to make up for the rest. Those of us who lived in the pre-technology era have made it to this point, so why can’t the children of the future do the same?

What Dr. Graham’s program covers is essentially what parents should have been doing from the start. If you have to resort to shelling out thousands for therapy for an issue like this, maybe you should re-evaluate your parenting style rather than blaming technology itself.

[Cover Photo: flickingingerbrad/Flickr]

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