The Labor Party has pledged $2.5 million (US$1.79 million) for further research to understand the impact of Australian children’s screen and gaming addiction.
“For[my wife]Anna and I, one of the biggest challenges in raising kids is getting them off their devices, and I know we are not alone,” says New. South Wales (NSW) opposition leader Chris Minnes said.
“Screen addiction is a relatively new phenomenon that parents are dealing with, and I am concerned that there is not enough research to know its full impact on young people and their developing minds.
“It’s important that both parents and teachers have all the facts about how screens and devices affect children’s development.”
The funds will be part of the Department of Education’s annual subsidy budget and form part of the NSW opposition’s bid to win power in the next election on March 25.
Mobile use restricted in NSW schools
Since the end of 2018, mobile phones forbidden in all primary schools in NSW. High schools, on the other hand, do not have mandatory restrictions, but high schools are given the option to opt-in.
If elected, the Labor Party says all NSW public high school students must turn off their mobile phones, smart watches and headphones and keep them out of sight during school hours.
This cell phone ban will follow in the footsteps of South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.
Heads Up founder Danny Elachi said: The Alliance – A group of Australian families to slow down their children’s use of social media and smartphones. report News.com.au.
But the current Education Minister, Sarah Mitchell, has criticized Labor’s pledges, saying they are no different from current policies already in place.
“They (Labour) want a ban, but of course there will be exceptions,” Mitchell told reporters.
“We will work with the school if these students need to use (devices) for health or educational purposes.”
Gaming addiction on the rise in Australia
Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) Digital Australia 2022 Report (pdf).
The average play time by age group is the highest for children at 106 minutes per day.
quit the game report Video game addiction among under-18s is on the rise in Australia, with an estimated 78,000 Australian children addicted to video games.
Macquarie University study From July 2022, 2.8% of nearly 1,000 Australian teens were found to be affected by Internet Gaming Disorder. It has been included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) since 2013.
Associate Professor Wayne Warburton, a developmental psychologist, said that for those who meet the criteria for Internet Gaming Disorder, video game use has a profound impact on many areas of young people’s lives, including schoolwork, relationships, and mental health. says there is.
“For school-age children, the guidelines have been replaced with recommendations for creating a family media plan in which you and your children determine limits together,” Warburton said.
“Probably more than the previous recommendation of one hour a day in elementary school and two hours in high school, but three to four hours or more would leave little room for them to have a balanced life.
“Think of a healthy media diet like a healthy diet. Moderation and good choices are key.”
Typical warning signs of Hazardous Gaming (HG) and Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) include spending more time in the bedroom, poor academic performance, missing hobbies and activities, and lying about time spent gaming. I have.
While IGD and HG can be used to describe excessive use of video games, Warburton says similar effects are linked to addiction to the internet, social media, mobile phones and even pornography. says.
“Anyone can become screen addicted, but my research shows that they have problems with impulse control and suffer from basic problems such as self-esteem, social integration, feeling good about things, and controlling themselves. Children are more at risk when their essential needs are met, and they are better off online than offline,” said Warburton.
Gaming addiction or IGD is currently classified as a mental health condition by the World Health Organization (WHO) and was added to the International Classification of Diseases ICD-11 in 2022.
Too much screen time throws your body out of balance
Excessive screen time can interfere with sleep and throw your life off balance, but all types of light suppress melatonin secretion, and blue light from electronic devices at night suppresses this more strongly. increase.
Electronics emit blue light, which is a ray of light with shorter wavelengths and more energy. Blue light is beneficial during the day as it can increase alertness, reaction time and mood, but it can be very disruptive at night.
At night, light can also disrupt your body’s biological clock. Disruptions in circadian rhythms can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
sleep foundation report Children are more sensitive to light, and in one study, evening light exposure suppressed melatonin twice as much in children compared to adults.
“Interacting online doesn’t provide the same level of complex mental stimulation and physical contact as meeting a real friend,” says Warburton.
“Using the addiction model is a conscious choice. It’s the only way to make a profit because your competitors are already using it.”