Internet addiction in teens spawning psychological problem

About 73 per cent of the teenagers in the country have some sort of psychological problems because of Internet addiction.

This is one of the findings of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, in a study conducted in various cities on the basis of which the premier institution has also opened a special clinic called SHUT (Service for Healthy Use of Technology) to address the behavioural problems because of the addiction.

Addressing a pre-conference workshop for school counsellors here on Friday as part of the 30 annual conference of the State branch of Indian Psychiatric Society, Dr. Aniamma George, senior consultant, General Hospital, Ernakulam, in her address on Behavioral Addictions — The emerging Epidemic, said the data collected by NIMHANS might not be a cross section of society, but those who have access to multimedia.

As many children in the age group of 13 to 17 years were addicted to mobile games and social media networks like Facebook, there had been an increase in the numbers of cases that came up for behavioural intervention in the clinical practice, said Dr. Aniamma.

She said addiction to the Internet might provide similar epidemiological trends as in case of substance abuse affecting both body and mind.

Dr. Janaki Sankaran, member, Ernakulam District Child Welfare Committee, said 40-44 per cent of the population is below 18 years. Hence, it is imperative that schools become the place of intervention for addictions of any kind.

Dr. Anoop Vincent, associate professor, Sree Narayana Institute of Medical Sciences, pointed out the case of a child who started getting seizures because of lack of sleep due to addiction to Facebook. In his address on the patterns of substance abuse in schools and tips for early detection, Dr. Vincent said the first step of addiction is curiosity and that others are also part of it.

Dr. Vivek U., consultant psychiatrist, Renai Medicity, said 63.6 per cent of students coming in for counselling for drug/alcohol abuse had started using it before 15 years. Taking long hours for bath, closing door for privacy and weight loss were some of the most tell-tale signs of substance abuse, he said.

Lack of supervision and monitoring at home lets children get their way with Internet and substance abuse, said Dr. C. J. John, the president of the State branch of IPS, who led the panel discussion on the topic.

The counsellors also need to keep in mind that behavioural problem in children may also not be associated to environment at home, he said. “Every child is at risk. Sometimes peer pressure alone could be a factor for addiction,” said Dr. John.

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Printable version | Jun 11, 2021 2:19:56 AM |

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