THE Southern Philippines Medical Center Department of Pediatrics said that exposure to digital technology can cause lack of socialization and aggressive behavior among children, underscoring need for parental guidance.

Doctor Mervin Flavier, a neuro-developmental behavioral specialist pediatrician, said they have encountered several issues pertaining to the effects of gadgets which led to lack of socialization and aggressive behavior on the part of the children.

“I have encountered some children who are misbehaving in school [and] becoming hyperactive and aggressive because they are engaged in a lot of video games that has violent theme, particularly war games,” Flavier said.

Flavier said that parents of these kids usually bring their children to them because of several illnesses, adding that parents don’t recognize that these are the initial effects or symptoms of too much engagement to digital technology.

“They go for other concerns like frequent headaches, frequent abdominal pain and frequent absenteeism in school,” Flavier said, adding that those who take selfies all the time already have an addictive behavior.

Flavier said that in his clinic he has seen children who are holding their gadgets at a very young age.

When Flavier asked the parent, they told him they are busy and they need to give their kids a gadget to provide them something to do.

Flavier also noticed that kids nowadays are no longer seen playing in playgrounds but are instead kept inside their houses for fear of acquiring illnesses like dengue, thus, in order to entertain themselves, they tend to seek for technologies to serve as their means of entertainment.

“I have encountered kids, one year old to two years old, able to read already and they are mistaken as being genius but it’s all memorization,” Flavier said, adding that such thing is not tantamount to intelligence.

What is developed in these technologies is not communication which is more important and should be learned from a teacher and not from various programs.

The child learns to sleep late because the brain is stimulated, therefore, irregular sleep patterns develop, which is no longer healthy.

Aside from these, too much engagement could also lead to obesity. Almost 15 percent in the Philippines are already obese due to inactivity and improper diet.

“We are not against technology. Technology is here to help us, it is the adults who are in right mind and age to determine what is good and bad for their kids. So parenting is still the key, you should not let your kids alone playing and structured activities such as watching program over and over because they will not be guided,” Flavier said, underscoring the integral role of the parents, reminding them to keep their eyes on their children.

The group of kids they are dealing ranges from six to 22 years old. These are usually the millennials and they are the ones often engaged in these gadgets.