By Katie Nelson
Image credit: Wayan Vota.
A professor from Fudan University’s School of Journalism says that “about 80 percent of children are obsessed with iPads,” and the effects could be damaging to their social development, according to Shanghai Daily.
Professor Cao Jin interviewed 100 children and their parents at a kindergarden in Yangpu District, finding that 42.6 percent of parents who owned an iPad bought it for themselves, half of them bought it for their children to use alongside them, and 7.2 percent of them bought an iPad strictly for their children.
According to the professor’s survey, parents see the iPad as a helpful early education tool, using applications like puzzle games as a fun way to challenge the child’s mind and “develop innovation and intelligence”.
“More than half of the parents think iPad has a bigger positive impact on children, rather than the negative side, like it could result in shortsightedness or the children could get addicted to video games,” Cao said.
Many adults and children are becoming “obsessed” with their iPads, Cao said, to the point where “They cannot sleep without it,” and 80 percent of children “reacted emotionally” when their iPads were taken away.
Electronic devices are creating social barriers within the family household, Cao found during the survey. “Dad was playing computer games; mom was watching American soap drama while the kid was sliding his or her fingers on the [iPad] screen. No one talks to others anymore,” Cao said.
The survey showed that a third of children used the iPad between 30 minutes to an hour a day and 64.4 percent of children used it between 10 to 30 minutes a day.
While 30 minutes a day hardly seems to merit their usage as being considered an “obsession”, gaming addiction has steadily become a problem throughout China.
Statistics from the China Internet Network Information Center have shown that China has over 330 million online gamers, 150 million of whom are below the age of 19. Earlier this year, China’s culture and internet regulator even announced plans to diagnose and deal with people addicted to gaming, like this 22 year old who called the police on himself because he was so addicted to computer games.