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A top addiction therapist in the United Kingdom is cautioning parents that giving a smartphone to your child may be as damaging as giving them “a gram of cocaine.” The comments were made by Harley Street rehab clinic specialist Mandy Saligari at an education conference in London. She mentioned that apps like Instagram and Snapchat can prove to be just as addictive for vulnerable teenagers as drugs and alcohol.

“I always say to people, when you’re giving your kid a tablet or a phone, you’re really giving them a bottle of wine or a gram of coke,” she said during her talk at the Highgate Junior School conference where she spoke alongside other children’s mental health professionals.

She recalled her experience of treating several young female clients who believed that sending a nude picture of themselves to someone using their cellphone was “normal” behavior and that it only turns out to be an issue when a teacher or parent finds out. They did not consider the privacy and safety implications of their acts.

Saligari called on parents to think about the compulsive urges that smartphone ownership can bring about in kids and how that behavior can mirror the brain patterns found in problem gamblers and drug addicts.

“Why do we pay so much less attention to those things than we do to drugs and alcohol when they work on the same brain impulses?” she said.

She added that it’s important that parents teach their kids about self-regulation so that they know when to self-regulate and don’t need to be told exactly what to do before they’re fully able to understand the implications of their actions.

Filed in Cellphones.. Source: standard

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