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Study finds smartphone addiction among Thai children on the rise

Jack Burton

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A study by the Thai Health organisation shows that Thai children spend an average of more than 35 hours a week on smartphones or the internet. It indicated that children who spend most of their time on smartphones and computers are at risk of developing gaming addiction and even violent behaviour.

The director of the Healthy Child, Youth, and Family Promotion section at Thai Health says smartphone addiction in children, dubbed “digital natives”, is a problem that well known to many parents. She says children nowadays grow up with easy access to computers and smartphones, in a world driven by the internet. They use devices both for study and pleasure, as well as total communication through social media.

The survey found that toddlers and even children as young as 8 months old have used smart phones. It said many parents give their children smartphones to play with, not realising the danger, adding that addiction could have detrimental effects on children’s growth and cognitive development. It suggested children shouldn’t use the devices more than an average of 16 hours per week.

The survey, on 15,000 children nationwide, also showed that 61% of those 6-18 years old are at risk of becoming addicted to online games because they play the games more than 3 hours a day. This, it said, can lead to gambling online and engaging in violent behaviour as they grow older.

Thai Health says the solution is to strengthen family bonds and have members spend more quality time together.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai News

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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