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Smartphones as a Christmas present: Teach children controlled internet use
Smartphones and computers are an integral part of our everyday lives, especially not for the youngest. At Christmas, some families will have a cellphone or tablet under the Christmas tree. Bavaria's health minister now warns of excessive internet consumption among children and adolescents.
Indispensable everyday companions
Smartphones, cell phones and tablets have become an indispensable everyday companion for many people. Especially for the majority of teenagers, life without the small devices is hard to imagine these days. Bavaria's Minister of Health Melanie Huml now warns of excessive internet consumption among children and adolescents. Parents should teach their children how to use the Internet competently.
Smartphone use with health consequences
It has long been known that the increasingly intensive use of smartphones does not remain without health consequences.
Studies have shown that such devices reduce the quality of sleep in children and adolescents and lead to speech and concentration disorders.
In addition, experts assume that myopia will increase due to constant smartphone use.
Furthermore, posture with a lowered head threatens postural damage such as neck tension.
And last but not least, people who constantly text, surf and whatsapp are at risk of becoming addicted. For example, a study showed that many children can only go 30 minutes without a cell phone before they experience withdrawal symptoms.
Smartphone under the Christmas tree
“Probably, many families had a smartphone or tablet under the Christmas tree. However, parents should make sure that their children do not spend too much time with their smartphones and on the computer even during the Christmas holidays, ”said Huml in a message.
“Children and adolescents have to acquire the skills to use PC and the Internet in a controlled manner. They need our support for this, ”said the Minister of Health.
“Because too much preoccupation with online games and social networks also poses health risks. Computer gambling addiction has become a serious, real problem. ”
More and more internet-dependent young people
The Minister pointed out that the number of internet-dependent young people and young adults is increasing.
In the current federal government addiction report, experts currently assume that there are approximately 560,000 internet addicts and 2.5 million problematic users in Germany. Young people between the ages of 14 and 24 are most affected.
The current drug affinity study by the Federal Center for Health Education comes to the conclusion that the number of 12- to 17-year-olds who suffer from internet addiction even doubled in the years 2011 to 2015.
Border between normal internet use and addiction
The question of where the line between normal use and addiction runs on the Internet is often not so easy to answer.
If, for example, hobbies are impaired, social contacts suffer or users themselves interrupt beautiful activities to look at the screen, there is a high risk that there is an internet addiction or cell phone addiction behind it.
Affected people usually drop off at school, withdraw from family and friends and lose control.
Clear rules for cell phone and internet use
“PC and the Internet have become an integral part of our everyday life today. Nine out of ten twelve-year-olds own a smartphone. They spend an average of three hours a day online, ”explained Huml.
“The digital world has long been part of everyday life in children's rooms. Kindergarten children already know how smartphones work, ”said the Minister of Health.
“It is primarily the job of parents to teach their children how to use the Internet competently. This includes, for example, agreeing clear rules for cell phone and internet use. "
The minister, who is a licensed doctor, also pointed out the health risks: “Excessive media consumption can also lead to health problems for children and adolescents. This can lead to speech development disorders and motor hyperactivity in small children. ”(Ad)