Mr. Spiteri explains that BSO! is currently running a campaign entitled: ‘Balanced Use’.
“The ‘Balanced Use’ campaign aims to raise awareness about the importance of balance between online and offline time, not only for health reasons, such as eyesight, obesity and so on, but also to safeguard the social and emotional wellbeing of children.” He says.
“If the only world a child is subjected to is the online world, then the online risks are magnified. It is important to always offer an offline alternative and expose children to extra-curricular activities, encouraging them to interact with different groups of people.”
Mr. Spiteri tells me of one case of severe online overuse where a boy used to prefer urinating in his underwear to avoid getting up and interrupting his online activity (online games).
He tells me of another boy whose mum (with the best intentions) used to keep him home often from school to avoid him getting sick. Her son used to spend hours and hours in front of a screen playing video games to the extent that she used to have to feed him herself whilst he played because he would refuse to stop in order to eat.
“Online games are built to hook children. They are made for children to want more and more, hence the importance which adults play in regulating children’s online behaviour” adds Mr. Spiteri.