Children’s addiction to digital devices, particularly smart phones, is now a growing problem for the development of their mental and physical health, according to experts.
Some children even cannot be fed without letting them watch smart phone contents in many cases in Bangladesh. The children are losing their social life due to excessive addiction to smart phones, they said.
Sumaiya Khatun, mother of two children, said rearing children is now a challenge for her as both of her children are addicted to smart phones.
“My son who is four years old is desperate for digital devices. He is used to watching internet content. He can’t think of his time without the smart phone. This is now a lifestyle for him as he always keeps the phone with him to watch cartoons and other porgrammes,” she said.
She also said that her two-year-old daughter is also interested in internet content like his brother. “We have tried a lot to get them out of this habit. We provide them with smart phones as it is not possible to stay with them all the time. But it looks odd for us as they always stay with smart phones,” she added.
Sumaiya said their concentration on smart phones is a matter of tension for us as they may browse different websites or content which is not appropriate to their age.
Another working parent shared his concern over the issue as their seven-year-old girl, who is studying in class one, cannot think of a moment without looking at her phone.
The father of the Girl Faisal Hasan who is working as the Senior Information Officer in the Press Information Department posted in Dhaka while a private job holder Mother along with her daughter lives in Chattogram.
“We are really concerned about her mental and physical health and social grooming as she spent most of her leisure time watching online content. We allow it as we are busy with our job,” the father of the daughter told UNB.
He also said that they did not find any alternative to allowing her to spend time on smart phone.
“But it seems a dangerous thing for her creativity and proper social grooming. She now prefers watching online content to playing with other friends. The pandemic makes the situation worse than usual,” he added.
“Now the digital addiction is the key barrier to children’s proper social grooming,” said a businessman Abul Hossain.
Founding President of Dhaka University IT Society and writer Abdullah Al Imran said that today’s children are the future. But internet addiction
is destroying their future. The addiction is even more intense when children have been immersed in online content since childhood.
He said parents are prioritizing the child’s desire for temporary benefits which is bringing a dark future in their lives. This attachment is shrinking their world of thought too, he said.
Encouraging the habit of reading books can be a great way to overcome net addiction, said Imran, who works to spread awareness to overcome net addiction among schoolchildren.
“Reading books will sharpen the child’s creativity and expand their world of thought. Parents will have to play the key role to overcome the net addiction of their beloved children and encourage reading habits.
Specialist in Pediatrics and Line Director of Medical Education and Health Manpower Development at the Directorate General of Medical Education Dr. Md. Al-Amin Mridha told UNB that the young population is no longer exposed only to one traditional medium like TV. The boom in electronic devices has expanded the number of attractive screen-based activities, which brings new challenges in how to monitor total screen time and disentangle the potential effects of each device on physical functioning. Computers have become an “indispensable element” in children’s lives.
“Spending too much time on the computer from an early age can negatively affect academic success due to the low concentration, lack of attention and disorganization, undeveloped language skills, creativity and imagination seen in children as a result of excess computer use,” he said.
He also said that the children engaged with their smartphone during school negatively affect both their own and their classmates’ attention. Easy access to illegal, violent, and sexual content, communication with dangerous people, and excessive dependence on games constitute only a few of these significant risks.
According to Kaspersky, some 46.16 percent of South Asian children (India, Bangladesh) are most likely to watch videos and listen to music online.