Digital Addiction in Children and Advice to Families

Last week, I wrote about digital addiction and some behavioral measures in adults. Let’s talk about this issue for children today.

Digital addiction develops insidiously because technological tools are always at hand.

The neurobiological harms of cigarette, substance and gambling addictions are the same as the harms of digital addiction.

Uncontrolled use of digital objects can serve as a seed for future addictions in children. The child may transition to substance or other addictions in adolescence or adulthood.

Children cannot make sense of abstract concepts, they can make sense of concrete concepts. This is so until the age of 12-13. For this reason, children perceive what they are with in the digital object as truth. They may think that those who die in war games are real death. When this is repeated, neurotic problems may occur in children.

In addition, it is thought that one of the reasons for the increase in attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders and autism disorders is the increase in children’s relationships with digital objects.

First of all, we should not allow our children to be constantly involved with digital objects in their hands, but if we want to take something from the child’s hand, we have to give something else.

As Bruce Alexander said, “It’s not a substance that causes addiction, it’s a lack of something else.”

So, what are the sources of problems in the development of digital addiction in children?

1-Using the devices to comfort and calm the child:

We should raise our children patiently and not give up digital objects in order to gain time or make them do what we want.

2-Family unrest:

If there is unrest in the family, the child will seek that peace in the digital object. We must create a warm family climate in our homes.

3-Unconscious parental attitudes:

We’re not supposed to be the relaxed parent type. We should know how to set limits for our children and apply it.

4-Efficient time-spending methods are unknown:

An activity list can be prepared by asking the child for his/her opinion. We have to sit down and talk with the child. If we give the child the role of an active participant, our work becomes easier and as a secondary gain, the child gains self-esteem and develops a sense of belonging.

5- Areas of use:

Children should use digital objects in the common area. We should never let them use it alone in their room

6-Lack of self-esteem:

If children cannot gain their self-respect within the family, they may tend to seek it in games. The child who succeeds in the game gains a false self-esteem. When you fail the game, the probability of having self-confidence problems increases. We should definitely respect our children as individuals and make them feel that they are part of the family.

Since we are at home during the pandemic period, we can turn to traditional domestic games in order to prevent digitalization to some extent. We can play games that entertain while making children think.

We should include chess and intelligence games. Games can be played from the age of 4-5 in order to control metacognition and executive thinking skills.

We should program our family’s routine during the day and take care to implement activity lists. We can organize events such as 1 hour of play, 1 hour of lecture, 1 hour of book reading, in which all members of the family will participate.

Fathers should take the burden on mothers’ shoulders in child care and should not shy away from their responsibilities. The first caregiver is the mother, but the father should also be involved in the process. One of the most important elements of a competent parenting attitude is the correct implementation of parental roles.

In short, let’s be conscious parents and conscious families about the spiritual development of our children and the dangers that await them, and let’s not push them to diseases with our own hands.

The ability to be patient is our greatest strength in raising children!

I wish you a healthy week.

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