Covid increases Smartphone addiction over children, poses health risk

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DHAKA, March 15, 2021 (BSS) – The prolonged lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic has increased the screen time of different digital devices of around 90 per cent children especially in the urban areas that posed health risk to the growing kids.

Health experts said sitting for hours in front of a screen causes eye fatigue and impairment in visual acuity, focus, ability to concentrate, and may cause headaches and neck and shoulder pain.

Symptoms appearing after prolonged periods in front of screens are dryness and myopia.

Sitting for long hours, especially in front of touch devices, may adversely affect posture, causing neck and shoulder pain, pain in the hands, and lead to the development of early scoliosis.

There was a time when mothers or grandmothers are used to tell fairytales to the children to feed them or put them into sleep.

But the scenario has rapidly been changed as now-a-days parents giving Smartphone to the children to make them calm and quite during their feeing time of playtime that possessed eyes and mental health risk on young minds and body.

Studies have found that among children and adolescents, screen time is linked to obesity due to unhealthy eating habits such as snacking while watching TV, or viewing TV during dinner time.

Evidence suggests that chronic sensory stimulation via excessive exposure to screen time may affect brain development in negative ways.

Excessive Smartphone use may increase the risk of cognitive, behavioral, and emotional disorders in adolescents and young adults that also has the potential to increase the risk of early onset dementia in late adulthood.

“Morning of my kid starts with mobile phone. I can’t control it anyway. Without mobile he doesn’t eat anything. That has been forced us to give him the phone,” said Abdur Razzak, a resident of the capital’s Khilgaon area.

Farabi Hossin, a student of Motijheel Ideal School, said he loves to watch many things over smartphone all the time.

“I love to be busy with mobile phone even while I eat and go to bed. Besides, as school has been closed since long, there is nothing to do without being busy with my phone,” he slugged.

Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist Professor Dr Pran Golap Dutta said Smartphone is very injurious for health as children who play video games on mobile phones for five-six hours daily get eye problems at a very young age.

“The day is not far away when mobile phones will be identified as more harmful than cigarettes” he said.

Khairul Islam, father of Arik Islam a fourth grader in Motijheel Boys High School, said, his son’s previous routine has been ruined and a lot of reliance on mobile has increased.

“It’s a huge problem. Now, he sleeps late at night and wakes up in the morning. Get up and look for the mobile. If you say something, he used to say he is studying on mobile,” Islam sounds helpless.

Associate Professor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Retina Department Tariq Reza Ali said they are getting more pediatric patients than before with complained of burning eyes, red eyes, blinking eyes and tears.

Professor Dr. Golam Mustafa, director of the National Institute of Ophthalmology and Hospital, said that looking at a computer, mobile or any other electric device is harmful to the eyes of everyone, big or small.

“Children have been coming to the hospital with eye and headaches for the last few months with reflective error … that means they need glasses,” he said.