'Imaginary fear' created by games online can leave damaging impact on children

Researchers warn children who play on digital devices experience a chemical reaction in their bodies that causes them to get hyped up.

This "imaginary fear" makes their bodies react like it is a real physical fear and "energy is sent to the muscles", according to a report by the Daily Mail.

Scientist said the reaction is similar to someone preparing to "run away from a lion". However, the energy will not be used as children will stay seated.

"We evolved on the prairie, and when a lion jumped out at you our body goes into this very set of responses, our heart starts beating faster, we start to sweat, our digestion shuts down, that is all to get as much energy to the muscles so we can run away," Dr Sam Wass told the Daily Mail.

"We have actually got a paper out at the moment showing that when a child is playing an iPad game their body is reacting to imagined danger as if it is real danger. So the same set of responses kick in," he further explained.

While the reaction does not cause physical danger, clinical psychologist Shona Goodall stated there is evidence to show children do become "irritable" and "struggling to settle".

Experts also raised concerns about the use of such devices being "very solo" and children are learning to lose on individual level rather on a public platform. "Digital work is very solo, and as a psychologist I don’t have an issue with digital time per se, I have a problem with it competing with other aspects of development…development at this age is about communication, interaction, sharing," Dr Elizabeth Kilbey is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.