Video- Pediatrician Irina Costache. Eating at tablet or mobile phone can lead to virtual autism
At the table with technology has become an ever more common habit in the families of many Romanians. Children are put in front of the TV, tablet or phone to distract them and feed them more easily. It is indeed more convenient, but in the long run doctors caution that it will have negative effects both physically and emotionally.
Ioana is the mother of a 5-year-old boy. When she goes to the restaurant, she leaves her baby the phone in his hand so he can sit still.
“I was not going to give him the phone. The tablet is a defect of many parents, effectively insisting so much that we lose our calm and give in, “says Ioana Stroe, mother.
Such situations are common in many families. Even in the first year of life, children eat in front of the TV, tablet, or phone. Because of their lack of information, but especially from a hurry, parents no longer have the patience to get over the little ones whims at the table. So the simplest trick is to let them watch their favorite movies. During this time, the big ones bite them with the spoon.
“When the child is stuck with the learning side that is done with the left side of the brain, which is inhibited by those alpha waves where any type of screen transmits, he does not learn about smell, taste. Gets the food robotic, “says Dina Bento, a trainer at the Family School Association.
“It agitates the baby very much, even if we feel that he is eating quietly. In fact, eating on an agitated background depending on what he watches at the TV or tablet, the child may have emotional feelings that do not fit the act of eating, “says Monica Burcea, a psychotherapist.
Looking at screens at such a small age affects not only the attention and concentration of children, but the whole body, say doctors.
“In the long term there are effects related to organic disease that it does not chew properly. Digestive problems may occur, the colon may appear irritable, even gastritis may occur. It is not excluded. The food must be chewed, digested. Everything has a time, “says Irina Costache, pediatrician.
“Moms can enjoy the babies eating without commenting, but he did not eat. From a psychological point of view, he did not process that action. He processed the movie he was looking at. The act of eating took place somewhere in the second and unconscious plane, “adds Monica Burcea, psychotherapist
More specifically, from a psychological point of view, the children remain hungry. In addition, those who spend so many hours a day in front of screens can develop a so-called virtual autism.
“I had the case of a boy who was barely a year old, and for four months stood at tablet and at 1.4 years, compared to his sister you could hardly have eye contact with him or to respond when it called. It was a period of „autisation” that has been resolved, “says Irina Costache, pediatrician.
Also, in the long term, more and more studies link the incidence of childhood obesity to eating in front of screens.
“They are school children, adolescents who eat watching television because they want to watch TV and then eat in ignorance,” says Irina Costache, a pediatrician.
“Another important aspect is that a lot of unhealthy food commercials are being broadcast on TV. It stimulates children’s appetite, they get to ask for that food at the expense of healthy foods. Parents succumb to emotional blackmail and give the children those unhealthy foods “says Monica Burcea, a psychotherapist.
“Maybe we are glad for a moment that he ate a soup in front of the tablet, but in time the baby is as if he never ate and will go to eat things that really give it pleasure to the taste and we can find them everywhere: sodas, all fast food has added substances that make it enjoyable to the taste, “says Dina Bento, Family School Association trainer.
Such behaviors can, however, be directed. A first tip would be the gradual removal of technology from children’s lives.
“We’ll take the tablet of the baby and put something in there, okay? We’ll explain, look, Ionut mommy’s got to give you a carrot. Look, what a nice carrot or before we go into the stage of eating we can read a story about the vegetables, “says Dina Bento, the Family School Association trainer.
“We take him to the kitchen when we prepare food, show him the food, explain it, tell him a story, give him a task to do, no matter how small. And so we put him into a more real world. Parents sit both at the table, “says Monica Burcea, a psychotherapist
In addition, specialists recommend parents to rarely use the phone near children. The personal example is the most important weapon that adults need to use in their relationship with their little ones.