Current Affairs
“Internet is a dangerous tool in children’s hands”

A balance should be reached between the use of internet and access to the social media among children as, if this becomes an addiction, it may lead to repercussions on their health both physically and mentally.

This was stated by psychiatrist Dr Mark Xuereb to TVM as parents of children and adolescents are concerned about the excessive use of the technology in their children’s lives. Caritas director Anthony Gatt stressed that parents should not only monitor the length of time only but also the type of material that children see when using internet and on the social media.

Demaris Agius, a mother, recounted with TVM about the change she is seeing in her son due to excessive use of the internet.

“I noticed that he almost doesn’t go to the toilet if he hasn’t his mobile on him…no patience. He doen’t even think and recurs to the technology….even while we are eating, he is eager to go to play games”.

Caritas is continuously raising awareness in schools on the repercussions of this addiction. Director Anthony Gatt says that it is good that a parent not only monitors the time spent on internet but also the material accessed. “That is internet is a dangerous tool in children’s hands, especially exposure to pornography. You cannot have children with a tablet protected password and the parent is not aware of what is going on”.

Psychiatrist Mark Xuereb says that there should be a particular age when children are given a mobile. Repercussions may be various – from obesity to suicide. “Let us not forget that internet addiction is one of three criteria for a suicide in adolescents and youths. This may be a crisis. First there is the excessive time on internet; then one is pushed away from society and third one abandons his personal needs”.

Dr Xuereb stressed that a balance has to be reached with children with a limit of not spending over two hours daily on internet, as established by the World Health Organisation, while he urged parents to encourage their children to play and do excercises to avoid the addiction of excessive use of internet and of the social media.