Children as young as three and four are queuing outside spine and physiotherapy clinics to deal with aches and pains triggered by obsessive use of gadgets. The rise in muskoskeletal problems are mainly caused by recurrent use of tablets, handheld games and mobile phones for texting, browsing or playing.
Gadget addiction manifested through continuous watering of eyes and an excruciating headache.When a visit to an eye specialist and eye drops could not resolve the problem, the needle of suspicion turned to his daily activities, which involved spending almost every waking hour on his parents’ phones. The world of online videos, cartoons and rhymes at the age of eight months. By the age of two, he was savvy with mobile phones, who has cut down his phone usage to 10-15 minutes a day now.
A severe back and neck pain within four months of her parents buying her a tablet. Her mother said they bought her the device only because she had no one to play with in the neighborhood during summer vacations. Besides the pain, it has badly affected her grades in school often her gadget usage exceeded six to eight hours a day.
There has been an alarming increase in the incidence of pain in the neck, shoulder, swelling of muscles from holding gadgets and even inability to sit and write for long hours, among children. Children sit in a slouching position for hours altogether, causing discomfort to their back and spine, even affecting their posture.Swiping continuously on a screen obviously does not give them the required dexterity in the fingers or arm muscles. Further, the limited or non-existent outdoor activity robs them of the optimum vitamin and calcium levels. Among more worrying side-effects, is that children with such addiction could develop spondylitis early in the life.
The damage, however, may be much serious and beyond physical pain. The case of a three-year-old child, who was wrongly diagnosed with autism when his actual problem was poor communication skills. It emerged that the child would not even eat without watching online shows, and spent at least four hours daily . The child had poor eye contact, delayed speech and did not mingle with other children. He explained that the impact on a child due to obsessive gadget usage could be colossal. It cuts off the child from learning normal communication, which happens from talking to mother, father or other family members. Gadgets just provide one-way interaction . Parents who often use gadgets as an incentive are mainly to blame. Buy them a pet, not a touch pad.
A mobile phone can give a child unlimited access to the world of internet, games and porn. Children cannot cope with the pressure that comes with it.