This blog throws light on how the digital screen is wrecking havoc on young minds and adults alike resulting in Screen Dependency Disorder. Everyone these days are glued to their mobile phones and tablets. They are, however, unaware of the host of neurological and psychological problems that come along with the unlimited screen time.
Health experts say, that Screen Dependency Disorder has the potential to damage a kid’s brain and give rise to psychological symptoms in adults.
It is time we consider SDD as a serious condition and find ways to get rid of it.
Screen Dependency Disorder or SDD is a relatively new term in the medical world of psychology. In the last few years, haven’t we been noticing children and adults in the constant use of a digital screen? We have often questioned ourselves, “why are the parents not spending time with the child?” or why is the child so much engrossed in playing mobile games and watching the cartoon?”. Well, this concern is not just restricted to a child, it is a condition observed in adults as well.
Screen Dependency Disorder in kids
Now, the most important conversation among parents is how much screen time is correct for a child. And the one and the only answer is no amount of screen time is recommended for a child. However, The American Academy of Paediatrics states that, for a child of 2-5 years of age, just one hour of screen time in a day can be recommended; and for children of 18 months and below, there should not be any screen time at all.
Effects of SDD in children
Researches have found that with time, children start displaying symptoms of addictive behavior; only this one being addicted to mobile phones or iPads. Is your child too addicted to mobile phones?
Check out for these symptomatic behaviors
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Disinterest in outdoor activities
- Adamant and glued to mobile screens despite negative consequences
- Stunted motor skills
- Disinterest in academics
- Lying about the extent of screen time
Tips on how parents can manage child’s SDD
Children below 18 months ―
Screen time is a complete no-no for children if they are below 18 months. For children of 18 – 24 months, parents should choose a digital programme suitable for the age and explain to the child what they are seeing.
Children 2 – 5 years ―
The recommended screen time for children 2-5 years of age should be just one hour per day, in any case. Parents should try and encourage children to watch some educational videos and make them understand what they are watching.
Children older than 6 years ―
Fix a screen time and limit it to the designated time. Keep a watch on the type of media your child is using. You can also use a parental lock to restrict your child from watching unwanted sites.
Set rules for media-free time together ―
Outings, drives and family times at home should be a media-free time, not just for the kids but for each and every family member too. Make your dining space and bedroom a complete media-free zone.
Screen Dependency disorder in Teenagers &Adults
Screen dependency disorder is not just prevalent in children but it is a serious behavioral disorder in today’s youth too. They make use of the computer, not just for work purpose but also for unlimited gaming, watching videos and constantly updating social media. Texting till late in the night and scrolling through Tumblr or Pinterest is a very common habit among today’s adolescents.
There are different types of screen dependency disorder in adults and teenagers –
- Internet addiction disorders
- Internet gaming disorders
- Problematic internet use
- Compulsive internet use
- Pathological video game use
- Video game addiction
- Pathological technology use
- Online game addiction
- Mobile phone dependence
- Social network site addiction
- Facebook addiction
A major study published in 2016 by a Norwegian psychiatrist shows a survey of 23,500 adults between the age group 16 to 88 on their social media usage, video gaming, and associated symptoms of psychiatric illness.
The study revealed that symptoms that are characteristic of ADHD, OCD, anxiety, and depression have a strong connection to excessive screen dependency.
Symptoms of Screen Dependency Disorder in Adults
There is always a major correlation drawn between addictive internet usage and some forms of mental illness. Here are some behavioral and physical symptoms that become apparent when an adult falls prey to SDD.
- Sleep deprivation or Insomnia
- Sudden weight gain or weight loss
- A backache
- Weak eyesight
- A headache
- Withdrawal from social life
- Severe to mild depression
- Increased tolerance to mobile usage
- Continuation of mobile usage despite adverse effects
How SDD affects your body?
It is a medically proven fact that bright screen affects a good night’s sleep. There are many more effects that an excessive exposure to the screen can do to your body.
Restructuring of Brain –
What an adverse effect of excessive screen time! The grey matter of the brain shrinks while the white matter fails to communicate properly. This leads to poor cognitive performance.
Scrolling through the mobile phone for hours or watching a high-paced video for a long time can display symptoms of cybersickness. Symptoms like a headache, confusion, dizziness, nausea are involved. Studies have found out that women are more susceptible to cybersickness than men.
Sight Weakness –
Perhaps our parents were always right when they asked us to keep a distance from watching television. But these days, we hold a screen just inches away from our eyes. The blue light from the screen damages the retina causing eye strain.
Metabolic Syndrome –
This condition involves diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, all of which results from an abnormally sedentary lifestyle. Increased screen keeps you confined to your bed or your couch. There is a significant absence of physical activity. A 2008 study has identified a strong link between increased screen time and metabolic syndrome.
Text Neck –
This is a relatively new syndrome in the medical world. It is a condition defining neck and spinal pain owing to the constant poor neck posture due to the overuse of mobile phones. With time, it can cause damage to the spine and neck ligaments.
While the digital screen is a boon, it is also a bane to mankind. We, humans, are becoming a slave to this gadget. And as parents to avoid a cranky child mess, we prefer giving them phones and tablets. Children behavior has changed. They don’t feel energized at any moment and their only favorite pastime is spending hours glued to the screen.
This behavior needs to be changed not just in children but in adults too. The best way to get rid of this problem is to get a psychological counseling. Visit a Psychiatrist near you now.