Moms and dads, have you heard about screen dependency disorder?
Moms and dads, you might want to rethink letting your little one use your smartphone for extended periods of time. Yes, phones and tablets can keep them entertained – and quiet! – for hours. But prolonged use of such devices can cause what's known as screen dependency disorder.
What is screen dependency disorder?
According to new research, screen dependency disorder (SDD) is a disorder that can potentially cause insomnia, backaches, weight gain or weight loss, eyesight problems, and headaches. It can even lead to poor nutrition.
Dr. Aric Sigman, author of the research paper, writes, "Associations are emerging between screen dependency disorders (SDD) such as Internet Addiction Disorder and specific neurogenetic polymorphisms, abnormal neural tissue and neural function."
He adds, "It is possible that intensive routine exposure to certain screen activities during critical stages of neural development may alter gene expression resulting in structural, synaptic and functional changes in the developing brain."
This means that for a child's still-developing brain, having SDD can cause long-term effects. Even brain damage is a possibility. The fact that SDD can be likened to other addictions is very alarming, as no parent would want their child to develop an addiction to anything.
That's why parents need to be more aware of how much screen time their children get every day. Constantly depending on smartphones or computers to keep their children occupied can have a negative impact on their growth and development.
Some important tips when it comes to screen time
Here are some important things to keep in mind when it comes to your child's screen time:
- Never let them become too dependent on screen time to keep themselves occupied. Encourage them to play with their toys or to play outside instead.
- Babies who are younger than 18 months shouldn't be exposed to smartphones or any media on a screen.
- Make sure to choose only high-quality programming for your little one. Always be there whenever they watch videos, especially when they are online.
- Place a limit on how much screen time your child can have. A couple of hours a day should be enough.