Phones and tablets are ‘digital heroin’ for young children, expert says

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An expert in the effects of technology addiction has said that phones and tablets are like ‘digital heroin’ for children under the age of 10. Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, writing for the New York Daily Post , explained that technology…

Phones and tablets are 'digital heroin' for young children
‘Tech addiction can lead to psychotic-like features’ (Picture: Getty Images)

An expert in the effects of technology addiction has said that phones and tablets are like ‘digital heroin’ for children under the age of 10.

Dr Nicholas Kardaras, writing for the New York Daily Post, explained that technology raises dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with rewards, as much as sex. Recent brain imaging research shows that the frontal cortex is affected by technology in the same way it is affected by cocaine.

Citing Dr Peter Whybrow, a director neuroscience at the University of California, and Chinese researchers, he says screens are like ‘electronic cocaine’ or ‘digital heroin’ to young children, and once they meet the criteria for ‘true tech addiction’, they become increasingly depressed, anxious and aggressive.

‘It [tech addiction] can even lead to psychotic-like features where the video gamer loses touch with reality,’ he said.

Excessive screen time on phones and tablets is 'digital heroin' for young children aged under 10
A full digital detox is required for children with a dependency on technology (Picture: Getty Images)

‘I have found it easier to treat heroin and crystal meth addicts than lost-in-the-matrix video gamers or Facebook-dependent social media addicts.’

For children, the solution is a full digital detox, the most extreme version of which lasts four to six weeks and also excludes television.

He suggests replacing games like Minecraft with Lego, books with iPads and TV with sport.

He adds that parents should wait until their child is 10 until they give them an iPad or other tablet.


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