Updated: 2012-12-02 11:08
By Liu Zhihua and Sun Ye (China Daily)
Children in their pre-teens and teens are in the most important phase for bone building. If they stay in a fixed position for too long, it will affect normal, healthy bone growth.
"Many parents know the tablets or computers may harm their children's eyes, but they are less aware of the harm to bone development and structure," says Liu Zhongjun, director at the Orthopedics Department of Peking University No 3 Hospital.
"Once the bones develop abnormal growth, it is very hard to reverse."
The most vulnerable bone structures are the cervical, thoracic, and lumber vertebra, and there are more and more children with unnaturally curved necks, due to an over-indulgence in digital devices, and bad sitting postures, Liu adds.
In addition, children left alone on the computers may be risking psychological damage.
"Children under middle-school-age are fast learners of how to communicate and play out their social roles," says Pang Yu, a psychologist and deputy director with Beijing Huilongguan Hospital, a leading mental institution in Beijing.
"If they get too immersed in the cyber world and miss real opportunities of communicating with others, they may delay language and intelligence development, or have difficulty dealing with inter-personal relationships later in life."
Studies have shown that children who overdose on television tend to receive information passively and lack communication skills. The same problem is surfacing with children who are left alone to use computers, tablets and cellphones, Pang says.
Parents must be there for their children.
There are no substitutes.
"When there are others around to communicate with, children can make use of the iPads to create conversation, rather than to play alone and in silence," Pang says.
"It is very important to keep your children company."
Contact the writers at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Click here to find more life news.