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Kids with a ‘digital hangover’ refuse to go to school

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Experts also warn some kids have become so sedentary, playing games and surfing the internet, they risk suffering stress fractures in their legs when restarting school sport.“In more severe cases of gaming disorder, along with school refusal and Covid isolation periods, I have seen an increase in children with physical injuries including hairline bone fractures, muscle injuries and eye strain,” Internet Addiction Clinic Director at Kidspace Brad Marshall said.The latest research shows one to three per cent of Australian children have a gaming disorder, while one in 10 are at risk of “problematic levels of internet use”.Screen addiction is not officially recognised, however, the World Health Organisation added ‘online gaming disorder’ to its official list of mental health conditions in 2019. Mr Marshall said while more boys than girls are into gaming, girls tend to spend a lot of time on social media.“Some kids can be on TikTok for seven to eight hours a day,” he said.He said Covid restrictions and lockdowns, followed by the long summer holiday, had exacerbated the problem.“Every year when the new school term starts, the clinic is inundated with worried parents needing help because their children don’t want to go back,” Mr Marshall said.“It’s going to be worse this year.”CUT TECH He said some children are just anxious about seeing people face-to-face after spending so much time alone.He said some of his young patients will only see a friend once or twice during the holidays, preferring to ‘socialise’ online.Mr Marshall said he didn’t blame parents, they needed help.“There’s been such a generational change from when we were kids and our parents were trying to get us to come in the house, now the parents are trying to get them out,” he said.Digital wellbeing author and public speaker Dr Kristy Goodwin said she has seen a 92 per cent increase in the number of parents signing up for her talks during the pandemic.“Parents are realising problematic internet use is not just a fad of a phase,” she said.“What I am seeing is a digital hangover.”net healthLes Stock, stepfather to a 17-year-old Sydney boy whose gaming addiction used to be so bad he refused to go to school and would only leave the house once a week, said he still plays games but spends less time online.He’s now back in the classroom studying cyber security at TAFE.“I think he will be brilliant at cyber security,” he said. “He has an incredible brain.”Mr Stock set up a private Facebook support group for parents called Online Gaming Addiction with 1600 followers and said it showed how many other parents were struggling with the issue too.Mum-of-two Melissa Dickfos, 39, from Toowoomba in Queensland, said she was a “hard taskmaster” when it came to monitoring her children’s online activities.She said Sienna, 11, and William, 10, were allowed one to two hours a day during the school term as long as their homework and chores were completed.In the holidays the rules are relaxed, and they will spend more time on their iPads or the Xbox, but tend to get bored and want to do other things.“Sometimes they push the boundaries like all children, but I’m vigilant,” Mrs Dickfos said.

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Continue Reading News Story. Published by Melbourne Central Press Syndicate. For feedback write to Amnon Jakony, Founding Editor/Publisher – amnon [at] Thanks for reading.

Continue Reading News Story. Published by Canada Central Press Syndicate. For feedback write to Amnon Jakony, Founding Editor/Publisher - amnon [at] Thanks for reading.

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