A growing number of young children have demonstrated symptoms similar to attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) because of their exposure to tablets and smartphones at a young age.
"Parents should stop letting young children play with tablets and smartphones," the deputy head of the Mental Health Department Dr Samai Sirithongthaworn said yesterday.
He said while young children play with these devices, images that change every three seconds adversely affect their brain.
"Young children who have spent too much time on these devices are prone to be hot-tempered. They don't know how to wait or live with others," Samai said.
He encouraged parents to let young children play with other children their age. "This way, their ADHD-like symptoms will gradually disappear," he said.
While many children suffer symptoms like a hot temper, hastiness, an inability to focus and clumsiness because of their environment or upbringing, about 420,000 children in Thailand had those signs because of a brain disorder.
"When there is a brain disorder, it's a real case of ADHD," Mental Health Department director-general Dr Boonruang Triruangworawat said.
He said if children with ADHD were mistaken as irresponsible, they might develop emotional and behavioural problems to a point of turning to narcotics or having criminal tendencies.
"But if they receive proper care, they will be able to learn and work like others," Boonruang said. He said treatment could cure about two-thirds of ADHD-affected children.
To help children with ADHD, autism, learning disorders and intellectual disabilities, the Mental Health Department has encouraged teachers to evaluate students in their classes.
"Many children can get better simply with the help of their teachers. But some need psychiatrists," Boonruang said.