iPhone and iPad wielding parents who find themselves addicted to Angry Birds, email or Fruit Ninja are guilty of “benign neglect” when it comes to their parenting obligations, warns a leading psychologist.
Aric Sigman warns that an entire generation are now growing up addicted to their computers, televisions and smartphones, with children spending as much of a year of their crucial first seven formative
years engrossed in a computer screen.
This sees children having access to as many as 10 different screens in the home and could lead to unforeseen long term consequences in the wiring of the brain.
Such screen dependency bears all the hallmarks of addictions such as alcoholism warns Sigman.
Sigman told the annual conference of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health: “Passive parenting in the face of the new media environment is a form of benign neglect and not in the best interests of children.”
To mitigate any possible adverse effects Sigman recommends that children under three not be allowed on any screens at all and those under seven to be restricted to just one hour outside school.