23% of adolescents show symptoms of addiction to new technologies

New technologies have become one more member of households. Few families are saved from the presence of computers, smartphones, tablets or video game consoles. Tools that can offer both a window of information in real time, as a means of communication with people living on the other side of the world, as well as entertainment instruments.

However, although its use can bring great benefits, various problems arise from its misuse. There are many young people who have a dependence on these screens, and many others who show the symptoms of this addiction. Specifically, 23% of young people in this country are in danger of developing these dangerous behaviors.

Increase access

If a few decades ago, access to the Internet was something that only a few users had, with the passage of time, both the access portals and the network itself have been expanding. The data offered in 2017 by the National Observatory of telecommunications and the Information Society, ONTSI, indicate that 94.2% of households with children have computers, 77.6% of tablets and 95 , 6% have internet access in the home.

These data also reveal that seven out of ten children aged 10 to 15 have a mobile phone and more than 90% have used the Internet in the last 3 months. As for the smartphone there is a clear difference in what refers to age. 90% of children under 13 to 15 years have one of these terminals compared to 48% of those from 10 to 12 years.

And how has the presence of these technologies affected the daily lives of young people? In the Study on Addictive Internet Conduct, we can see how part of this sector of the population has developed a certain dependence on these technologies. In Europe, addictive behaviors are presented by 1.2% of adolescents and 12.7% are at risk of suffering it. In Spain, these values ​​are higher reaching 1.5% and 21.3%, respectively.

Recommendations of pediatricians

Faced with this situation, it becomes clear that pediatricians must play a decisive role when it comes to promoting the rational use of screens among minors, from the first years of life, and detecting risks and possible damages caused by a improper use. Here are some tips that both specialists and experts can apply:

- Until 18 months, avoid exposure to screens.

- From 18 to 24 months, start the viewing of quality programs in the company of parents.

- From 2 to 5 years, vision of quality content, accompanied by parents and maximum one hour a day.

- From age 6 you should look for the balance between the use of screens and other activities typical of their ages.

- Screens should be avoided during meals, study hours and before bedtime.

- The existence of devices in the bedroom should be avoided and ensure that the child practices sufficient physical exercise and has the necessary hours of rest at night.

Damián Montero

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