Web binges can be bad for children

As web use reaches record highs among children, England’s Children’s’ Commissioner Anne Longfield has attacked new methods social media giants are using to draw them into spending more time staring at tablets and smartphones. She said online time can be likened to junk food.

In an interview with the Observer, she said that parents should ‘step up’ and be proactive in stopping their children from bingeing on the internet during the summer holidays. Launching a campaign to control internet use, she said time online should be balanced in the same way that parents regulate their children’s diets.

“It’s something that every parent will talk about especially during school holidays – that children are in danger of seeing social media like sweeties, and their online time like junk food” she said.

“None of us as parents would want our children to eat junk food all the time – double cheeseburger, chips, every day, every meal. For those same reasons we shouldn’t want our children to do the same with their online time.

When phones, social media and games make us feel worried, stressed and out of control, it means we haven’t got the balance right. With your diet, you know that, because you don’t feel that good. It’s the same with social media.”

Last year, industry watchdog Ofcom said the internet overtook television as the most popular media pastime for children in the UK. Children aged five to 15 are spending 15 hours a week on the internet, the BBC reported.

A study of screen time and mental wellbeing among teenagers has suggested moderate use of devices may be beneficial in a connected world. The researchers collected self-reported data from 120,000 English 15-year-olds about their digital device habits.

They found a ‘Goldilocks effect’ where a few hours of device-use seemed to boost mental wellbeing.

Stress and anxiety – whether caused by social media use or other events in our lives – can be treated effectively with clinical hypnotherapy and the National Council for Hypnotherapy says more and more people in the UK are showing signs of over-anxiety and stress.

“Anxiety is a fear or concern that is exaggerated, and is out of proportion to the situation, although sometimes it may not feel like this,” says the NCH. “It is an adrenaline response that causes your heart to beat faster, pumping oxygen around your body to those parts that need it to protect you.

“You may feel as if you are on high alert as well, unable to calm down or relax, your mind may race unable to focus or quieten down.”

Referring to hypnotherapy as treatmentfor anxiety and stress, the NCH says: “A hypnotherapist can help assess your anxiety, identifying the root of stress or anxiety whether it is a situation, a physical issue, a past experience or a relationship.

“Then they will set you a goal asking how you wish to feel, how you would like to be, and things that you would chose to do in your life if you were free of anxiety. They will then work with you to reach your goals using a range of different techniques.

“Every therapist may use slightly different techniques, but working towards the same goal. It is as if hypnotherapy unlocks the potential you have to break free of negative thought patterns, and to react more positively and more confidently to situations in your life that may have previously made you anxious.”

The national body adds that, after a session the person suffering the anxiety or stress may feel uplifted, lighter and very relaxed.

“Often change is very subtle, as your hypnotherapist will be working with your subconscious mind, and you may just notice a very positive shift in how you are feeling.”

To overcome feelings of stress and anxiety, contact an NCH therapist near you by using the council’s directory. It is that simple and stress, anxiety and other worries can soon be a thing of the past.

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