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How to tell if your kid is addicted to the iPad

A psychologists says there are five tell-tale signs. However, many of these signs seem remarkably adult.

Even some babies find iPads second nature. Mike Wilson Tunes/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

The prime purpose of an iPad, at least as far as I understand it, is to keep people quiet.

Let them disappear into their tablet and entertain themselves, and peace will reign.

There is, though, the danger that you might get hooked. Especially if you are, say, 3 years old.

A British-based psychologist has therefore created a list of five warning signs for parents to look out for.

As the Daily Mail reports, Dr. Richard Graham believes that there are clear indicators. And they're not entirely dissimilar to, say, those associated with drug addiction.

There is, for example, lack of interest in other activities. Some kids are apparently so hooked on their iPads that they simply see no joy in anything else.

Then there's a peculiar need to always talk about technology or getting easily distracted by it. This isn't, apparently, the exclusive preserve of nerds. It can happen to anyone.

Another sign is mood swings. Kids, apparently, can get downright irritable and aggressive when told to stop with the gadgets. Some even tell the oldies that they don't get it, because they never grew up with ubiquitous electronica.

Then there are withdrawal symptoms. "They may become distressed or angry by small things and when they are back online become calmer," said Graham.

The final sign is one that many will associate with drugs too: an increase in lying or a rise in devious behavior.

I suppose that deviousness is a natural concomitant of growing up. Yet Dr. Graham insists that kids who are hooked on their iPads begin to lie about how much they use them.

Such obsession might even be a precursor to, for example, a refusal to go to the movies because you can't use gadgets there. Unless you're Madonna, allegedly.

Graham suggests that parents talk to other parents and compare notes. They also suggest that, if the situation seems serious, a 72-hour detox is a good idea.

How such a thing could be enforceable, especially with kids of school age, is hard to know.

Still, Graham said: "The challenge starts when we reintroduce technology back into their lives in a controlled manner. They need a balance of activities to help children, including an increase of physical activity."

Part of the problem, though, is that adults can be just as addicted as kids.

One of the most difficult parenting tasks of all must be telling your kids to do as you say, not as you do.