Effects Of usage of Smart devices On Child Health and Behavior In Thi-Qar Governorate / Comparative Study (2018 – 2019)


The past decade has seen a profound increase in use of technology by children, some as young as one year of age. Critical milestones for child sensory, motor and attachment development are not being met. Developmental delay, obesity, mental illness, and attention deficit ,sleep disruption , and also Social disorders such as: communication, aggression and declining empathy ,are now becoming the norm.The aims: of this study are to determine if there is any significant statistical association between excessive usage of smart devices and change in child behavior and health ( either positive effect or negative effect ) . And to explore the purpose role of family about this problem . Method: This is a comparative study done on population of children aged between 3-14 years who are living in Thi-qar Governorate, south of Iraq, during period from August, 2018 till April, 2019. The study included 200 healthy children chosen selectively from the relatives of patients who consult outpatient departments of the hospitals and neighbors. One hundred of them are exposed to the risk factor (use smart devices) and considered as a cases and other 100 are not exposed to the risk factor and considered as control. Results: The study shows that most of children who use the smart devices are from urban area ( 73 % ) versus ( 27 % ) are from rural area and 69 % of them are using the devices less than 5 hours day and 31 % of them are using it more than 5 hours day . Also the study shows there is a significant adverse effect of prolong use of digital devices by children on their vision , playing with others and the sleep patterns . Also it associated with significant increase in the percentage of headache and neck pain, but it is associated with increase in their learning abilities. Conclusions: Prolong using of smart devices have many adverse effects on child health and behaviors in the form of aggressive behavior , decrease in school performance , headache , neck pain, visual problems and appetite disturbances , but its usage might increase their learning abilities.Recommendations: To encourage zero media usage for children under 2 years of age and limited time for those over 10 years of age and this problem need further studies to follow up the effect of digital devices on child health and behavior.