The Rising Concern of Mobile Dependency Among Children

Children are exposed to mobile devices from an early age, sometimes even in their stroller, leading to an increasing rate of mobile dependency. According to data from Replug Me, about 10 to 15 percent of children depend on mobile phones. Approximately one in five students admit that excessive use of mobile telephones complicates their lives.

Sleeping with a mobile in hand, they struggle to get up in the morning, and their performance at home and school is compromised. Mobile dependency can lead to depression, obesity, or other issues that require professional intervention. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, we noticed that children were excessively using technology, especially mobile phones, which impacted their mental health and school performance,” says Roman Petrenko from the Sirius Foundation, which aims to help disadvantaged children.

On Monday, the foundation organized a conference in Prague at the central city library on digital addictions, which begin literally in the cradle. “The term ‘digital pacifier’ is used when parents give a mobile or tablet to small children in a stroller,” says Petrenko. Experts agree that children up to two years old should not come into contact with digital technology.

Not fitting into the two-hour limit of screen time recommended for younger students is not necessarily indicative of addiction. Addiction begins when the use of mobile phones causes problems in everyday life. According to psychologist and addiction expert Katerina Lukavska, it is more appropriate to talk about addiction to specific content; in the case of mobile phones, it is most often an addiction to social networks.

Parents often don’t talk to their children about digital technologies. Eighty-two percent of students say their parents never or rarely speak to them about digital technologies. Rather than bans, positive communication helps the child understand how and why too much technology harms them. “We adults have much to do to learn how to use technology healthily,” says Roman Petrenko.