Parents and professionals concerned about excessive time children spend on internet and social media

The excessive amount of time children spend on the internet and social media is raising concerns among many parents and professionals working in this field.

Demaris Agius is a mother who spoke to TVM about her concerns about her son who she fears has changed due to the use of the internet for long hours of the day.

“I started to notice that the boy doesn’t even go to the toilet without his phone. He’s impatient and unimaginative. He has to have access to technology … When we’re home eating … all he wants to do is go and play. ”

Demaris told TVM that the pandemic and the ‘lockdown’ during Covid did not help, a feeling that has led to Caritas constantly raising awareness in schools about the repercussions of this habit.

Caritas Director Anthony Gatt stressed that not only should time on internet be controlled but also content children are watching while having internet access.

“It is good that parents not only monitor time spent but also monitor content _ the internet is a dangerous weapon in the hands of children especially the ‘exposure’ to pornography. You cannot have children who y have a ‘password protected’ tablet and a parent who doesn’t know what’s going on “.

Psychiatrist Dr Mark Xuereb explained to TVM that there should be a particular age when children are given a mobile.

“What would I do? If I had a ‘wish list’ … I would wish that a young person under 17 should not have a phone. It’s difficult and challenging, let’s not forget that the internet is a phenomenal technology, obviously it is up to us to use it in our favor “.

Xuereb said the repercussions of this addiction could be varied – from obesity to suicide.

“Let’s not forget that ‘internet addiction’ is one of the three criteria that leads to suicide in adolescents and young people. First is excessive time spent on internet, second is being cut off from society and thirdly is that you neglect yourself. Those are the three risk factors that can lead to suicide. ”

Xuereb stressed that a balance should be struck in this regard so that children do not spend more than two hours a day as established by the World Health Organization (WHO).

He also urged parents to encourage their children to play and exercise so as not to be overwhelmed by the habit of excessive internet use and the addition to social media.