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We live in the midst of a technological avalanche. What are the dangers of the disproportionate use of television, video games, computers and mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets for human health?

Technological avalanche. Foto: Marlene Caboverde

According to numerous studies, excessive dependence on technologies generates a kind of addiction with effects similar to that caused by some illicit drugs. This obsession is called Technophile, and according to experts on the subject, children are strong candidates to suffer it.

In most Cuban houses, children access the new Information and Communication Technologies from the first years of life. But what does happen when the family is unable to regulate this phenomenon?
Be careful; warn the investigations of the last 40 years. The abuse of the aforementioned means causes obesity generates violence and disturbances in behavior, while negatively impacting emotional and cognitive development, especially when the phenomenon occurs in the first ages.

Dr. Tania Adriana Peón, Master in Social Psychiatry of Havana, led one of the first studies conducted in Cuba on the subject, and explained:

“The television cancels the exploratory behavior of the preschool child. Generally, in those early ages the child seeks, touches, has sensations, stumbled upon a toy, felt a sound, and thus has sources of stimulation that the child himself seeks, and with something that was first hazardous, develops the intentionality of repeat it. ”

“They can be drawn to the movement, the colors, obviously, because, for example, a child under one year sees and listens perfectly, but does a tremendous damage, is not an appropriate medium for that age.”

Children can also learn from TV many social values. Foto Marlene Caboverde

On the other hand, the Master in Clinical Psychology, Aleida Meneses Heredia, Infant Youth Psychiatrist of the Community Center of Mental Health of the municipality of Playa, in Havana, warns that students who spend more time pending of the technologies are worse students.

“People to be able to develop have to think, and to think requires observation, a reasoning, a process in which the language intervenes, either orally, through mimicry or written language. In other words, you have to interact in order to create, recreate, imagine. ”

But before, in 1998, the decisive role of the family in the increase of the addiction to the TIC was revealed in another study of a group of specialists of the Military Hospital “Dr. Carlos Arvelo”, in Caracas, Venezuela.

“The child sees Television because it is imposed on him by the medium, he sees it because he has no other choice. It is offered in the home environment and reinforces the behavior of contemplation by parents. In many cases it is the child’s only company and sometimes it becomes a kind of nanny. ”

That same publication, on the other hand, insisted on the benefits that technology provides during childhood when used in a proportionate manner.

“Children can also learn from TV many social values, such as cooperation and being kind to others, and at the same time develop other aspects related to their schooling. In fact, in many “disadvantaged” children it is recommended 2 hours of TV per day to help with learning “.

But, spending too much time in front of the TV or computer can cause musculoskeletal conditions, anxiety, sleep disorders, obesity, and many more …

Today, dozens of researches can be consulted that take this formula for granted: The longer the child stays attentive to technologies: It will make worse grades in school, it will be less related to other people, it will read less, it will do less physical exercises and it will be at risk of being overweight.
And as psychologist Alic Sigman warns, “Technology must be a tool, not a burden for families or a risk to health.”

. Hence, the councils and recommendations agree on:
• Choose programs appropriate to the child’s level of development.
• Set limits on the amount of time spent in front of the TV or with electronic devices.
• Turn off the television during the hours of meals and study.
• Avoid programs that are not appropriate for your age.
Translated by Ada Iris Guerrero

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