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Children, Leisure and Addiction
plan vacional abg 06Do you know how long your children spend in front of the TV? Do you know what happens to a child or teenager when they spend hours in front of the TV or computer and how this makes an influence in their personal and social development? Risks or benefits?

Good has come from the new technologies and useful to science, education and communication. However, there is a lot of problems that have emerged with the excessive use in children.

According to Dr. Ovidia Rodriguez, specialist in Children's Psychiatry there are a lot of parents that do not know how television, Internet and video games can jeopardize the health of children.

I believe that the parents are not well informed or concerned on the dangers of these technologies in the development of their children, said the specialist of the Manuel Fajardo School of Medical Sciences.

According to Rodriguez, the main problem arises in their language because children under 3 years of age must have direct communication with adults that can stimulate a dialog and the TV programs are in general very passive.

Children under 3 should not be exposed to television, insisted the psychiatrist, adding that among other risks is the appearance of autistic disorders like not looking directly at someone speaking to them, kissing and pointing with their fingers.

There are mothers that mistakenly place their babies in front of the television including during the middle of the night if they are awake, she said.

Cartoons and other programs become an important source of distraction and learning process at the age of 4, although the specialist warned that it should be limited to no more than one hour and not every day.

And, said the specialist, children at that age need other activities like reading, school work, games and interaction with the family and friends.

In many homes the television is located in the bedrooms far from the control of the adults, the Doctor explained that children do not even eat in order to watch their TV series, movies or other programs, meaning that they do not look, smell and eat quickly their food increasing the risk of obesity.

Another favorite among kids are the video games which are mostly violent and worst can turn into an addiction.
What is dangerous is when children spent six to 8 hours in front of the computer inflicting problems in their social and family relations, bad academic grades, insomnia and motivation for other things in the daily life becoming irritable, listless, euphoric, said Rodriguez. For children, said the specialist, video games makes them feel satisfied of their wishes of pleasure, feel identified, kill, steal and nothing happens, they feel protected.

And regarding Internet, although still limited in Cuba is on its way to becoming another problem..

The specialist pointed out currently the addition to Internet is still not included in the psychopathic framework, it was recognized as a cyber-addiction since 1995 with the same characteristics of those dependent on chemical substances or some other types.

If television has never been a good baby sitter too much time online is not recommended for the development of children and teenagers.

It is important to prevent the excessive use of these technologies, a task that demands above all, the concern and dedication of the parents. / By Lisett Izquierdo Ferrer - ACN.

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