“Digital Heroin”: Too much screen time turning kids into psychotic junkies

“Digital Heroin”: Too much screen time turning kids into psychotic junkies

“A person can live without drugs or alcohol; with tech addiction, digital temptations are everywhere,” Dr. Kardaras says.

When we hear the word “addict,” children aren’t the first thing that comes into our minds, but the scary thing is that soon they might be.

After all, digital addiction is becoming an alarming problem affecting children.

If that doesn’t sound bad enough, researchers say that it’s easier to treat heroin and crystal meth addicts than lost-in-the-matrix video gamers or Facebook-dependent social media addicts.

At leas that’s what Dr. Nicholas Kardaras says in his New York Post report on this scary trend.

As bad as illegal drugs

He reports:

“Recent brain imaging research is showing that [ Pads, smartphones and Xboxes] affect the brain’s frontal cortex—which controls executive functioning, including impulse control—in exactly the same way that cocaine does.

“Technology is so hyper-arousing that it raises dopamine levels—the feel-good neurotransmitter most involved in the addiction dynamic—as much as sex.”

Because of these devices’ addictive potential,  Dr. Peter Whybrow, director of neuroscience at UCLA, calls them “electronic cocaine,” while Chinese researchers call them “digital heroin.”

Addiction to these devices have also been proven to increase risk of depression, anxiety and aggression. Making matters worse, it can even lead to “psychotic-like features where the video gamer loses touch with reality.”

In a 2013 report by the American Academy of Pediatrics, it revealed that 8- to 10 year-olds spend 8 hours a day with various digital media; one in three kids are using tablets or smartphones before they can talk.

Teenagers on the other hand spend 11 hours in front of screens.

Like all addictions, a detox is needed in order to cure them of the abuse. According to Dr. Kardaras, a full digital detox means no computers, no smartphones, no tablets.

In extreme detoxes, even television isn’t allowed.

He says: “The prescribed amount of time is four to six weeks; that’s the amount of time that is usually required for a hyper-aroused nervous system to reset itself.

“But that’s no easy task in our current tech-filled society where screens are ubiquitous.

“A person can live without drugs or alcohol; with tech addiction, digital temptations are everywhere.

Next page find out what you can do as a parent to prevent digital addiction!

What parents can do

It’s not easy to keep children from being digitally addicted, Dr. Kardaras says. Especially in the age in which we now live, where everything is digital.

But parents can take small measures to protect their children from too much digital binge, such as preventing 4-, 5- or 8-year-old from getting hooked on screens in the first place.

“That means Lego instead of Minecraft; books instead of iPads; nature and sports instead of TV,” he suggests. “If you have to, demand that your child’s school not give them a tablet or Chromebook until they are at least 10 years old (others recommend 12).

“Have honest discussions with your child about why you are limiting their screen access.

“Eat dinner with your children without any electronic devices at the table—just as Steve Jobs used to have tech-free dinners with his kids”

READ: Smartphone addicted parents are ruining their infant’s development

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