According to psychologists, the signs of technology addiction include spending more than 24-30 hours a week on the device, mood shifts and aggression when gadgets are taken away, and a significant decrease in other activities and interests.

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While compulsive gaming and Internet use are recognized by some as legitimate mental disorders, other experts remain doubtful that very young children can be called “addicts.”

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“Addicts become so consumed with their obsession that it impacts on other areas of their lives, such as their job or their relationship. I don’t think that criteria can apply to a four-year-old,” Mark Griffiths, psychology professor at Nottingham Trent University, told The Sun. “As a parent, the idea of not being able to control your toddler’s screen time is ludicrous.

“In the year running up to contacting the clinic, the parents noticed her use of the iPad was escalating. She was using it three to four hours every day and showed increased agitation if it was removed.”

Becoming aggressive or even violent when their devices are taken away is not uncommon for young technology addicts, experts .

The 4-year-old girl may be his youngest patient, but there are likely many more compulsive technology users in her age group, Graham said, adding that it is up to parents to set limits for their children’s Internet and gaming usage.

“Sometimes I think advice on Internet use should be part of antenatal classes,” he told the Mirror.

“Don’t leave your iPad around because if you do, and children see all the pretty colors they will want to use it too.

“It’s difficult, because having a device can also be very useful in terms of having a reward, having a pacifier. But if you don’t get the balance right it can be very dangerous.”

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