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Excessive use of technology could harm child health

Posted:  Monday, February 23, 2015

Technological gizmos have always been a hit with kids and teenagers alike with many mastering their intricate tips and tricks. However, excessive use of these highly addictive IT-enabled devices may not only result in poor social interaction, worsening of basic skills, and parent-child conflict, but may also result in behavioural changes in the form of irritability or outbursts and declining academic grades.

Experts observed that technology related health effects have ceased to be just a child health issue, instead it has snowballed in to a major public health concern. Children seem to emulate their parents who work long hours on their laptops, observed the National Indian Public Health Association President J. Ravi Kumar.

Video games and gaming apps seem to be the main attractions for pre-teens, whereas teens seem to be drawn to social networking and internet activity on their smartphones. The issue has indeed reached critical levels as is indicated by the fact that the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore’s SHUT clinic (Service for Healthy Use of Technology) which receives 3-4 mails enquiring and asking for online help or telephonic counselling for this addiction and related behaviour changes.

However, looking at the positive side, technology could be used for interactive education and is known to inculcate certain qualities such as strengthening reflexes and multitasking. However, educational institutions are yet to fully cash in the benefits which can be offered by technology.

So could banning technology be a possible solution? In an era driven by technology, this is definitely not the solution, believes award-winning educationist Devi Kar. She suggests adopting a balanced approach wherein Pthe child is exposed to the benefits of technology in educational institutions yet are encouraged to have social interactions. “But we have to be very careful about the addiction facet. Schools can help. There should be judicious combination of traditional methods and use of gadgets," concluded Kar.

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