While the summer vacation allows children to have a lot of free time, have fun and engage in outdoor activities, it also sometimes brings long hours to spend in front of the screen when talking about television, tablet, mobile phone and computer.
Some health problems may occur in children due to the uncontrolled use of such technological devices. Acıbadem Altunizade Hospital Pediatric Neurology Specialist Assoc. Dr. Hepsen Mine Serin warns parents at this point that school-age children can become screen addicts, so some rules must be set by making a plan with their children. Assoc. Dr. Hepsen Mine Serin talked about the problems caused by screen addiction in children who increased during the summer holidays, and gave important warnings and suggestions to parents.
Today, with the rapid development of technology, the use of portable and easily accessible devices is increasing day by day in childhood. Acıbadem Altunizade Hospital Pediatric Neurology Specialist Assoc. Dr. Hepsen Mine Serin states that children use mobile devices more to have fun, play games or watch videos; He says that increased screen exposure also brings some risks on the development of children. Emphasizing that children should not be exposed to screens, especially until they are 18 months old, and that the time spent in front of the screen in early childhood should be limited to a maximum of one hour per day, Assoc. Dr. Hepsen Mine Serin said, “In 2019, the World Health Organization published guidelines on healthy physical activity, sedentary behavior (inactivity) and sleep in children under the age of 5, emphasizing that children under the age of 1 should not be exposed to screens. Intense screen exposure negatively affects children's cognitive, physical and psychosocial development. says.
Assoc. Dr. Hepsen Mine Serin speaks: “The works carried out; demonstrated that prolonged screen exposure causes delays in cognitive, language, and social/emotional domains. Again, there are publications in the literature showing that intense screen exposure is associated with autism. Decreased physical activity with long-term screen exposure in older children, and the tendency to unhealthy and ready-to-eat foods cause obesity; Sitting in front of the screen for a long time causes posture disorders and causes musculoskeletal disorders such as shoulder, back and low back pain. In addition to problems such as vision problems, headaches, and increased risk of seizures, it also causes problems such as sleep disorders, attention problems, and aggressive behaviors. “
Long-term screen exposure can lead to many negative situations such as social phobia, academic problems, peer bullying and bullying in the virtual world (cyberbullying) by causing young people to be alone, especially during adolescence. Assoc. Dr. Hepsen Mine Serin “Family's failure to limit their children's use of the Internet leads to a decrease in their communication with family and friends in the real world, resulting in an increase in their social anxiety. Young people experiencing such problems are increasing day by day.” He warns families.
Child Neurology Specialist Assoc. Dr. Hepsen Mine Serin gives the following suggestions to families against screen addiction in children;
- Rule children's screen time, content, time, and location.
- Keep children under two years of age away from the screen. Never give a cell phone or tablet to their hands.
- Do not allow screen use during meals and for an hour before going to sleep.
- While spending time with the child, make sure that the television does not play in the background.
- Give importance to sleep patterns and physical activities, which are necessary for healthy development.
- Take necessary precautions to prevent access to websites with dangerous or inappropriate content.
- Collaborate with your child by explaining the reason for the precautions to be taken regarding screen and internet use.