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Can Your Child Be A ‘Screen Addict’?

Screen Dependency Disorder or SDD refers to screen-related ‘addictive’ behaviour, according to Dr Aric Sigman, a US-based psychologist authored the research paper on SDD — Screen Dependency Disorders: A New Challenge for Child Neurology. It concluded, “various screen activities are reported to induce structural and functional brain plasticity in adults…. Digital natives exhibit a higher prevalence of screen-related ‘addictive’ behaviours that reflect impaired neurological reward-processing and impulse-control mechanisms.”

His research suggests that kids who are addicted to screens can exhibit classic addictive behaviours. Those can include mood swings, rage, withdrawal symptoms, and loss of other interests. Kids with SDD routinely lie about how much time they spend on the device.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids between the ages of two to five, have no more than an hour of screen time a day on mobile devices like cell phones and tablets. Kids 18 months and below should not have any at all.

Experts identify kids with SDD as those who reach for their devices as soon as they wake up. Parents or caregivers allowing mindless media consumption such as kids who eat with their eyes firmly on their screen may also have SDD.

Perhaps it is time to rethink before handing your kids the glitzy gadgets?

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