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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 57-58

Children and their gadgets: A pedodontist perspective

Department of Pedodontics, Bapuji Dental College and Hospital, Davangere, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication18-Dec-2018

Correspondence Address:
Saraswathi Vishnu Naik
Department of Pedodontics, Bapuji Dental College and Hospital, Davangere, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijohs.ijohs_45_18

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How to cite this article:
Naik SV. Children and their gadgets: A pedodontist perspective. Int J Oral Health Sci 2018;8:57-8

How to cite this URL:
Naik SV. Children and their gadgets: A pedodontist perspective. Int J Oral Health Sci [serial online] 2018 [cited 2021 Jun 15];8:57-8. Available from: https://www.ijohsjournal.org/text.asp?2018/8/2/57/247809

  Children and their Gadgets: A Pedodontist Perspective Top

Technology plays a vital role in our daily lives. Although television (TV) continues to be the most commonly used form of media, cell phones and tablets are quickly becoming a close second in the overall usage. These gadgets are popular among both children and adults.

A national survey done by the Kaiser Family Foundation (US) found that children aged 8–18 years had an average media usage time of 6 h and 21 min daily and total media exposure time for most of the children exceeded the time spent in all other activities except sleep.[1] Although data from India are limited, a significant portion of our children also has considerable TV viewing per day, i.e., >2 h/day.[2] The media has a profound impact on the psychosocial development of children.[3]

  How Does Screen Media Influence Children? Top

Numerous studies have shown that babies do not absorb content from TV or any other screen, but it can catch and hold their attention.[4],[5] There is solid evidence that infants and toddlers encounter difficulty in transferring new learning from a two-dimensional representation to a three-dimensional object (e.g., from screen to real life) and are unlikely to learn from TV at this age. By 6 and 14 months, they can imitate actions, and by 18 months, they can remember brief sequences from the screen. Children begin to understand content by the end of their 2nd year.[6]

The increased levels of discretionary (nonhomework) screen time have raised significant concerns over children's cardiometabolic, psychosocial, and other medical outcomes. This screen-related “addictive” behavior is referred as screen dependency disorders (SDDs).[7]

  Screen Dependency Disorders Top

SDD is defined as intensive routine exposure to certain screen activities during grave stages of neural development which may alter gene expression resulting in structural, synaptic, and functional changes in the developing brain.

Recent international collaborative research on South Korean young adults/adults has identified 13.8% as the “Internet Gaming Disorder risk group.”

According to the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-5, it identifies Internet Gaming Disorder as a formal “mental disorder,” stating “studies suggest that when these individuals are engrossed in Internet games, certain pathways in their brains are triggered in the same direct and intense way that a drug addict's brain is affected by a particular substance.”[8]

  Diagnostic Criteria for Screen Dependency Disorder Include the Following Features Top

Diagnostic criteria for SDD include preoccupation, withdrawal symptoms, increasing tolerance, failure to reduce or stop screen activities, loss of outside interests, continuation despite negative consequences, lying about the extent of use, use to escape adverse moods.[9] Many researchers do suspect that SDD leads to neuroadaptation and changes within the brain as a consequence of excessive engagement with the Internet and gaming.[10]

  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics' New Recommendations for Children on Media Use Top

Physicians and other health-care providers should counsel parents and caregivers of young children on the appropriate use of screen time to promote child health and development. Recommendations include the following:

Minimize screen time:

  • Children younger than 2 years screen time is not recommended
  • For children, 2–5 years, routine or regular screen time is limited to <1 h per day
  • Ensure that sedentary screen time is not a routine part of child care for children younger than 5 years.
  • Daily “screen-free” times, especially for family meals and book sharing should be maintained
  • Avoid screens for at least 1 h before bedtime, to recover from melatonin-suppressing effects.

Mitigate (reduce) the risks associated with screen time:

  • Co-view with children whenever possible
  • Adults should be aware of content and prioritize educational, age-appropriate, and interactive programming
  • Use parenting strategies that teach self-regulation, calming, and limit-setting.

As a family, be mindful about the use of screen time:

  • Self-assessment regarding current screen habits and possibly develop a family media plan for when, where, and how screens may (and may not) be used
  • Adults should help children recognize and question advertising messages, stereotyping, and other problematic content.

Adults should model healthy screen use:

  • Better alternatives, such as reading, outdoor play, and creative hands-on activities should be promoted
  • During family time, turn off the devices
  • Turn off screens when not in use and avoid background TV.[11]

  Conclusion Top

The screen time has the potential for both positive and negative effects on child health. We need to find ways to optimize the role of gadgets in our children's life, taking advantage of their positive attributes, and minimizing their negative ones. Effective and efficient use of gadgets by children may promise to be a better tool in shaping the behavior of children and adolescents.

  References Top

Roberts DF, Foehr UG, Rideout V. Generation M: Media in the lives of 8-18 year-olds. A Kaiser Family Foundation Study. 2005.  Back to cited text no. 1
Arya K. Time spent on television viewing and its effect on changing values of school going children. Anthropologist 2004;6:269-71.  Back to cited text no. 2
Lerner C, Barr R. Screen Sense: Setting the Record Straight; Research-Based Guidelines for Screen Use for Children Under 3 Years Old. Early learning project at Georgetown university; 2014. p. 1-10  Back to cited text no. 3
Klein-Radukic S, Zmyj N. The relation between contingency preference and imitation in 6-8-month-old infants. Int J Behav Dev 2016;40:173-80.  Back to cited text no. 4
Moser A, Zimmermann L, Dickerson K, Grenell A, Barr R, Gerhardstein P, et al. They can interact, but can they learn? Toddlers' transfer learning from touchscreens and television. J Exp Child Psychol 2015;137:137-55.  Back to cited text no. 5
Barr R. Transfer of learning between 2D and 3D sources during infancy: Informing theory and practice. Dev Rev 2010;30:128-54.  Back to cited text no. 6
Sigman A. Time for a view on screen time. Arch Dis Child 2012;97:935-42.  Back to cited text no. 7
American Psychiatric Association. Internet Gaming Disorder Fact Sheet. American Psychiatric Association; 2013.  Back to cited text no. 8
Kuss DJ, Lopez-Fernandez O. Internet addiction and problematic internet use: A systematic review of clinical research. World J Psychiatry 2016;6:143-76.  Back to cited text no. 9
Kuss DJ, Griffiths MD. Internet and gaming addiction: A systematic literature review of neuroimaging studies. Brain Sci 2012;2:347-74.  Back to cited text no. 10
Canadian Paediatric Society, Digital Health Task Force, Ottawa, Ontario. Screen time and young children: Promoting health and development in a digital world. Paediatr Child Health 2017;22:461-77.  Back to cited text no. 11


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