Two children have been admitted to the Child and Youth Mental Health Centre in Lleida, near Barcelona, to be treated for addiction to their mobile phones. The parents of the children, aged 12 and 13, said they could not carry out normal activities without their handsets. They were doing badly at school and lying to relatives in order to get money to spend on their phones. The centre’s director, Dr Maite Utges, said it was the first time the clinic had treated children who were dependent on their mobile phones. The children had owned their phones for 18 months, and their parents had made little effort to restrict their use before noticing how serious their dependence had become. Dr Utges recommended that parents not allow their children to have mobile phones until they reached 16 years of age. She warned these cases could be the “tip of the iceberg”, and that mobile phone addiction “could definitely be a danger in the future”.

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