Environmental studies, metabolic research, and state of the art research in neurobiology point towards the reduced amount of natural day and sunlight exposure of the developing child, as a consequence of increasingly long hours spent indoors online, as the single unifying source of a whole set of health risks identified worldwide, as is made clear in this review of currently available literature. Over exposure to digital environments, from abuse to addiction, now concerns even the youngest (ages 0 to 2) and triggers, as argued on the basis of clear examples herein, a chain of interdependent negative and potentially long-term metabolic changes. This leads to a deregulation of the serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitter pathways in the developing brain, currently associated with online activity abuse and/or internet addiction, and akin to that found in severe substance abuse syndromes. A general functional working model is proposed under the light of evidence brought to the forefront in this review.
Keywords: children; daylight; depression; digital environments; dopamine; internet addiction; melatonin; myopia; obesity; overexposure; oxidative stress; serotonin; sleep loss; vitamin D.