Don't let gadgets rob families of precious bonding time

I was not surprised at all to read that 12-year-olds in Singapore spend 6½ hours daily on electronic devices (Glued to screen for 6½ hours; April 2).

We have all seen families at restaurants, each member engrossed in his or her own device.

Meanwhile, a British newspaper reports that desperate British parents are spending £70,000 (S$121,600) a time on therapy for daughters who have "become hopelessly hooked on sending naked photographs of themselves using their mobile phones and the Internet".

What disturbs me most is how often I see a baby or toddler in a high chair gazing into a tablet.

How in the world can a real-life carer or parent compete with the all-singing, all-dancing graphics on that digital device?

It troubles me immensely that:

How in the world can a real-life carer or parent compete with the all-singing, all-dancing graphics on that digital device?

•Family time at a restaurant does not encourage the family - particularly husband and wife - to communicate face to face.

•The joy of eating is not celebrated, which could lead to an unhealthy relationship with food in the future, such as obesity or anorexia.

•Little children become addicted to flickering images on a tiny screen at a time when their brains should or could be encouraged to be "wired up" in the areas of communication, problem-solving, self-control and relationship building.

I write as a parent who refused to let her child watch children's TV for the first two years of his life.

Is it wise to let such inanimate electronic devices rob our families of such precious times together?

Lee Siew Peng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2017, with the headline 'Don't let gadgets rob families of precious bonding time'. Print Edition | Subscribe