Mobile addiction in kids: Wean them off, prescribe psychiatrists as numbers rise in Prayagraj
Psychiatrists are receiving complaints from parents about their children's addiction to mobile phones, causing them to lose interest in other activities. The parents themselves admitted to using mobile phones as a way to calm their children, leading to addiction. Psychiatrists recommend zero screen time for children up to five years old and gradually decreasing screen time for those already addicted.
The parents of three-year-old Shreyansh approached psychiatrists after their child refused to eat unless handed a mobile phone. Four-year-old Rohini too had the same problem.
Parents of two children aged eight and six approached psychiatrists when their mobile phone addiction escalated to dangerous levels. The two children start watching reels, videos and playing games soon after school and continue till late at night. Their parents admitted that they gave their old phone to the children to keep them busy. However, the children were now losing interest in all other activities.
Senior psychiatrist at Motilal Nehru (Colvin) Divisional Hospital Dr Rakesh Paswan said parents of the majority of children up to age of five years are facing this problem.
“During counseling of such children and their parents it came to fore that they themselves were responsible for this situation. Parents admitted that they used the mobile phone to lure their children in earlier months and showed them reels and videos on their mobile whenever they used to cry. Later, this habit of parents turned into an addiction of the children,” Dr Paswan said.
Psychiatrists at the Colvin Hospital are receiving regular complaints from parents about children refusing to eat food without mobile phones in hand. Parents are approaching experts to counsel the children and free them of their addiction.
Psychiatrists at Colvin Hospital say that children are increasingly getting specially addicted to short reels on social media platforms which is leaving a bad impact on their mental health. Mobile phone addiction causes multiple disorders among children and hampers their mental and physical growth, they said.
Dr Paswan said nuclear families, where parents do not give much time to children, is responsible for the situation. Unlike joint families, where children interact with elders and cousins, they are spending time with mobile phones.
He suggested that young children should be treated under Zero Screen Time: children up to the age of five years should not be introduced to screens, including both mobile phones and television. Instead, they should be engaged in other activities. Parents should spend as much time with children as possible.
Moreover, if a child is already addicted to the mobile screen, then parents should try to decrease the time gradually instead of taking away the mobile at once. Parents should try to divert the mind of children towards physical games and other activities.