Run a quick check around you - do you see a TV screen or a computer screen or maybe even a mobile phone switched on? Chances are that one of them will definitely flashing. Adults may use these gadgets to facilitate their work but with kids what begins as harmless "time pass" can turn into an addiction.
"When a child or a teenager is hooked on to the screen (be it TV, computer, videogame or mobile) and spends hours in front of it, it is called compulsive addiction in a virtual world," explains clinical psychologist Seema Hingoranny .
She adds, "There are parents who complain that even when the family is out for dinner, the child is busy playing games on the cellphone instead of interactingwith them."
It's a known fact that kids are fascinated by moving images and most mothers use the television as a babysitter. And as children get older they become fixated to these lifeless objects. It gets to a point when kids prefer fiddling with these gadgets over meeting people.
They play video games while talking to someone and they watch television even when there are guests at home. All these symptoms are a cause for concern. "Such children refuse to take part in extra curricular activities if they can stay glued to the TVor the computer screen. And because of lack of social interaction, they turn into introverts."
"Obesity is a problem which may arise from such a situation," warns Hingoranny.
Hingoranny believes that the problem should be tackled in the initial stages itself. "Don't allow more than 45 minutes to an hour for any screen activity as kids enter a risk zone after that. Encourage outdoor activities as they need to minglewith others for healthy growth and development," she advises.
Few changes in the home environment are also a must. Hingoranny tells mothers to stop spending too many hours on the phone. Instead they should spend quality time with their children.. even if it's only a single hour in a day. Watch out for your kids Aruna Rathod says a child's fixation with the moving images can be a cause for concern
Cause for concern
If your child pleads for more time on the computer or cell phone.
If he avoids all kinds of social interaction to spend time in front of the TV or play video games.
If you end up paying a huge amount for your internet connection.
If your child only talks about the games he played.
If your child gets restless, anxious, bored or depressed when told not to use the computer or watch television.
How to deal with it
Monitor the hours spent on the computer, cell phone or television.
If you child is addicted, talk to him. Don't blame him. Instead get him to open up.
Push him into outdoor activities.