Written by KTC Occupational Therapist, Precious Mushosho.

Help! My Child Is Addicted To Gadgets!

Technology has really driven us to the future! Children are starting to use technology at a very young age to play games, watch videos for learning and homework, messaging friends, and exploring social media. These are all jobs or ‘occupations’ that promote social participation and play in children.The attractive visuals and sounds from the various videos and games on the gadget can often make children obsessed with their gadget. It is okay to have a little screen time. However, too much screen time can affect other occupations/jobs that children have to do, which include:

● Self-care (showering, toileting)
● Sleep
● Eating and Feeding
● Homework/schoolwork
● House Chores

Spending too much time on gadgets can also make it harder to concentrate at school, make friends, and spend time with family. Prolonged time on technology can make children experience a lot of emotional stress, increased aggression, and a lack of physical activity and good nutrition leading to physical health issues.

What to look out for?

● Loss of concentration/focus
● Eye problems/headaches
● Increased physical health issues
● Increased isolation and emotional stress

How do I help my child with a gadget addiction?

Be the change you want to see
Set an example for your child. Spend less time on gadgets in front of your kids, and instead, read a book, bake some cookies or spend some time outdoors. 

Encourage and facilitate alternative activities

Assisting your child to find alternative leisure activities such as reading, playing a sport, playing board games and doing arts and crafts can help to occupy them and can be helpful for child development. It is also essential to facilitate these activities by joining in or buying them for your child.

Set time limits on all screens and gadgets
Evidence has shown that different ages have different recommendations for the amount of time they spend in front of the screen. Due to gadgets in schools for education and productivity, it may be challenging to limit time. Below is a table showing recommendations for limiting sedentary recreational screen time.