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Covid-19 increases smartphone addiction for children, poses health risks

  • Published at 09:23 am March 15th, 2021
Representational photo Bigstock

Evidence suggests that chronic sensory stimulation via excessive exposure to screen time may affect brain development in negative ways

The prolonged lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic has increased the screen time of different digital devices of around 90 per cent children especially in the urban areas that posed health risks to the growing kids.

Health experts said sitting for hours in front of a screen causes eye fatigue and impairment in visual acuity, focus, ability to concentrate, and may cause headaches and neck and shoulder pain.

Symptoms appearing after prolonged periods in front of screens are dryness and myopia.

Sitting for long hours, especially in front of touch devices, may adversely affect posture, causing neck and shoulder pain, pain in the hands, and lead to the development of early scoliosis.

There was a time when mothers or grandmothers used to tell fairytales to the children to feed them or put them into sleep.

However, the scenario has rapidly been changed as nowadays parents give smartphones to children to keep them calm and quiet during their feeding time or playtime, which possesses risks to the eyes and mental health of those young ones.

Studies have found that, among children and adolescents, screen time is linked to obesity due to unhealthy eating habits such as snacking while watching TV, or viewing TV during dinner time.

Evidence suggests that chronic sensory stimulation via excessive exposure to screen time may affect brain development in negative ways.

Excessive smartphone use may increase the risk of cognitive, behavioral, and emotional disorders in adolescents and young adults that also has the potential to increase the risk of early onset dementia in late adulthood.

“My child’s morning starts with the mobile phone. I can’t control it in any way. Without mobile he doesn’t eat anything, this forces us to give him the phone,” said Abdur Razzak, a resident of the capital’s Khilgaon area.

Farabi Hossin, a student of Motijheel Ideal School, said he loves to watch many things over smartphone all the time.

“I love to be busy with mobile phone even while I eat and go to bed. Besides, as school has been closed since long, there is nothing to do without being busy with my phone,” he said.

Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist Professor Dr Pran Gopal Dutta said smartphone is very injurious for health as children who play video games on mobile phones for five-six hours daily get eye problems at a very young age.

“The day is not far away when mobile phones will be identified as more harmful than cigarettes,” he said.

Khairul Islam, father of Arik Islam a fourth grader in Motijheel Boys High School, said his son’s previous routine has been ruined and his reliance on mobile phones has increased a lot.

“It is a huge problem. Now, he sleeps late at night and wakes up in the morning. Right after he gets up he looks for the mobile. If we say something, he says he is studying from his mobile,” Islam sounds helpless.

Associate Professor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Retina Department Tariq Reza Ali said they are getting more pediatric patients than before with complaints of burning eyes, red eyes, and tears.

Professor Dr. Golam Mustafa, director of the National Institute of Ophthalmology and Hospital, said that looking at a computer, mobile or any other electric device is harmful to the eyes of everyone, whether it is a grownup or child.

“Children have been coming to the hospital with eye problems and headaches for the last few months with reflective error … that means they need glasses,” he said.


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