Monday, September 15, 2014

Indian Internet Addicts: Boy stabs mom for cutting internet access while another finds a Facebook Mom

It takes shocking incidents to bring to fore what is a rapidly growing problem with children; a predisposition to the excessive use of the Internet while avoiding studies, social interactions and physical activity. Recently in the Indian city of Pune, a 15-year-old student addicted to the Internet turned violent and tried to attack his teacher mother with a kitchen knife when she tried to take away his smartphone. The student spent hours on different messaging platforms and had around 500 friends, most of whom he had never met in person.  He even borrowed money from nearby shopkeepers to recharge his mobile. The boy was so addicted that after being taken for counselling he stripped naked in protest at the hospital and threatened to harm himself if his net access was taken away.
Online chatting offers children a way to escape emotional problems and they start to think that these online friends care for them more than their parents. Imagine the confusion last week in another part of India, when a twenty year old decided that an elderly nurse he met on Facebook was his “mother” and wanted to swap his real parents for her. The Facebook mom landed up at her “son’s” door, to add to the confusion of his parents, where he clasped her hand and expressed a desire to go with her.

According to Indian psychologists and child counsellors there is a 40 per cent year-on-year rise in the number of Internet addicts aged between 8 and 18, driven by the easy access to technology, peer pressure and messaging apps.
The most common form of Internet addictions are cybersex, online gaming, and cyber-relationships.

  • Cybersex is the compulsive use of Internet pornography and adult chat rooms. 
  •  Cyber-Relationship addiction is an addiction to social networking, chat rooms, texting, and messaging. 
  • Online Gaming  addiction is compulsive online gaming with virtual friends and currency. 
To find out is your child is vulnerable to Internet addiction, watch for these behavioral changes:

  • Becomes irritable or agitated when time online is interrupted. In the case of the Pune student he turned violent, threatened to harm himself and even stripped naked.
  • Withdrawal from activities that involve socialization with real people. Most addicts isolate themselves from people and spend most of their time with virtual friends
  • Spends a lot of time online at all or odd hours. Addicts constantly message driven by the urge to respond to their online constituency instantly. They carry their phone everywhere even to the toilet.
The only way to prevent such situations is to build an open relationship with your child, while limiting technology use, constantly watching for signs on addiction and to the extent possible supervising online behavior.  At the outset, set the rules of Internet use clearly distinguishing between productive Internet use for homework and nonproductive use such as social networking. Timely intervention could help prevent and reduce cases of Internet addiction

No comments:

Post a Comment