A mental health expert warned yesterday that parents are allowing their children too much screen time to watch videos or play games on smartphones or tablets.
The comments were made as 500 mental health workers gathered at the Royal University of Phnom Penh to mark the National Day of Mental Health, with one professional raising concerns over screen time leading to anti-social behaviour.
“When children are addicted to videos and games on smart devices, they do not want to do anything else or communicate with anyone else. It is a kind of mental illness,” said Pat Puthea, an official from the Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.
Mr Puthea said other factors can contribute to anti-social behaviour, such as drug use, family problems and employment concerns, but screen time often goes unnoticed.
“We do not have any research yet to show how many hours parents should give children to use smartphones, but it should be reduced,” he said.
Son Serey, 29, said she allows her children to use her smartphone because she believes it will enhance their integration with technology in the future.
“We want our children to be clever with technology,” she said. “My child is three-years-old, when I want her to stop crying, I always give her something to watch or play with on my phone.”