Your Child’s Smartphone Addiction Is Similar To Cocaine Addiction, Says This Expert (P.S Stats From Turner’s Flagship Research Study)

Rehab expert Mandy Saligari warns: Giving kids phones is like giving them wine or drugs. Lets normalize adults sexting and exchanging porn. Parents take action only when necessary.

When you hear the word cocaine, it brings up the image of a junkie sitting in a corner on the road. Unfortunately, here we’re talking about children – our children. I keep listening to parents complaining about the amount of time their kids spend on their iPad or playing games on their parents’ smartphones.

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We like to start them off on the iPad playing educational games which eventually translates into entertainment games like Minecraft and Flow Free. Parents give smartphones to their kids as early as 2-3 years to keep them “occupied” when they’re out at a restaurant or when the child throws a tantrum.

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Turner has commissioned Nielsen to survey their flagship research study titled  “Turner’s New Generations 2016: Power To The Kids” which gives us an insight into how much kids these days are engrossed with their mobile phones.

Infographic Source: Turner-AC Nielsen Research

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Smartphone and Cocaine Addiction- How Are They Similar?

Infographic Source: Turner-AC Nielsen Research

When kids play on the iPad or the phone, the dopamine levels in their brain increase.  This affects the frontal cortex of a child’s brain pretty much the same way cocaine does.  This portion of the brain controls memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and impulse control, which is why any addiction leads to a loss of these skills. Children are not born with these skills but develop them as they grow older which is why they are more susceptible to digital addiction.

Rehab clinic expert Mandy Saligari is one of the top addiction experts and warns that

When you’re giving your kid a tablet or a phone, you’re giving them a bottle of wine or a gram of coke. 

2/3rds of her clients are aged between 13 -20 years and it’s alarming how sexting and exchange of pornographic images are considered normal by kids in this age bracket. Phones and tablets have become an extension of kids nowadays. You’ll never see your teenage kids without their phones. Kids as young as 3-4 are glued to tablets and phones. She’s right when she says

“Why do we pay so much less attention to those things than we do to drugs and alcohol when they work on the same brain impulses?

Infographic Source: Turner-AC Nielsen Research

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Our Role As Parents:

Many parents intuitively understand that ubiquitous glowing screens are hurting kids. We have witnessed aggressive temper tantrums when the devices are taken away and wandering attention spans when children are not plugged in. How can we help our children from getting hooked to these devices? We need to look for the signs of social withdrawal and changes in their behavioral pattern. This digital activity may not seem like a real addiction to you, but it is.

What’s your take on this issue? Do you hand over the mobile phone to your child? If yes, how many hours per week? Share your views with us in the comments below.

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