4-year-old iPad addict gets €18k-a-month treatment

A 4-year-old girl in England is undergoing psychiatric treatment after being diagnosed as Britain’s youngest iPad addict.

The girl has been hooked on the device for over a year, according to her doctor who is charging her parents £16,000 (€18,720) a month to treat her.

The girl is one of many child patients displaying compulsive behaviour after using the device from an early age, doctors in Britain claim.

However, Irish experts say caution should be exercised in attributing her behaviour to the iPad and that it may be masking an underlying condition.

The little girl’s psychiatrist — Dr Richard Graham from the Capio Nightingale Clinic in London — said the problem might have become so severe she would have required in-patient care.

“Don’t leave your iPad around because if you do, and children see all the pretty colours, they will want to use it too,” Dr Graham told the Sunday Mirror.

“They can’t cope and become addicted, reacting with tantrums and uncontrollable behaviour when they are taken away. Then as they grow older, the problem only gets worse. Even the most shy kids, when they hit their teens, suddenly want to become sociable and popular.”

The UK’s national health system is set to recognise internet addiction disorder with the term listed in new manuals for GPs.

Dr Graham, who three years ago launched Britain’s first technology addiction programme, said he believed there were many more addicts of the girl’s age.

“The child’s mother called me and described her symptoms.

“She told me she had developed an obsession with the device and would ask for it constantly. She was using it three to four hours every day and showed increased agitation if it was removed.”

He said young technology addicts experienced the same withdrawal symptoms as alcoholics or heroin addicts when the devices were taken away.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

Related Articles

More in this Section

20 years of horror: Grace returned to foster home after hospital saw her for bruising on thighs and breasts

Job courses extend beyond unemployed

Can journalistic privilege be used to avoid giving evidence?

Coveney: Leadership is about vision, not private issues


Breaking Stories

'Grace' case: HSE reiterates apology to woman abused at a foster home

Gardaí appeal for witnesses to armed robbery in Dublin

Euromillions prizewinner pledges to help Dublin homeless

Oxfam claims profits shifted through Ireland hurt developing countries

Lifestyle

Eight things we learned at the Audi Dublin International Film Festival

Carol Drinkwater still has a thirst to act

Exploring Ethiopia: Novelties abound in the cradle of mankind on horn of Africa

Sky Matters: Sirius will be visible in the middle of March

More From The Irish Examiner