The child became so addicted to playing games on the iPad that she now experiences withdrawal symptoms when the iPad is taken away.

Her concerned parents enrolled her in a ‘digital detox programme’ to wean her off the device.

The girl’s psychiatrist, Dr Richard Graham of the Capio Nightingale Hospital in London, told The Telegraph that once children become addicted they can react to withdrawal with tantrums and uncontrollable behaviour.

Dr Graham likened the withdrawal symptoms that technology addicts experience to those of alcoholics and heroin addicts. He believes there are many more addicts her age.

It is understood that the girl, from the South East of England, has been hooked on the device since she was three, using it for up to four hours a day.

Dr Graham urged worried parents to seek help for their children early on, stressing that by age 11 the problem can become so severe that addicts require in-patient care. His hospital charges £16,000 a month for the programme.

A recent poll showed that more than half of parents let their babies use a smartphone or tablet, with one in seven allowing their children to use the devices for four or more hours a day.

Childcare author Tanith Carey told The Telegraph: “iPads, iPods and smartphones have become the new dummies for babies and toddlers.”

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