Internet De-Addiction Centres Now Go Main Stream In India
Besides creating billion dollar ecommerce companies, Internet in India has opened up another interesting industry: Internet de-addiction centers. And looking by the response they are getting, it seems everything is not ok with Indians.
This year in the month of June, India’s first Internet de-addiction center was opened in Bangalore. And in July, Delhi received it’s first internet de-addiction center. If we believe reports coming in, then other major cities such as Mumbai, Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad will soon get their own centers to treat ‘web junkies’ and help them ‘log-out’.
But do we really need them?
What is Internet Addiction?
Compulsive Internet Usage (CIU) has been described as a psychological problem by several countries including USA; and Indians are slowly waking up to this menace.
Also termed as IAD or Internet Addiction Disorder, such psychological case was first proposed as a satirical hoax in 1995, which soon took shape of serious research. Persons who are affected by this strange disorder spend large amount of time on the Internet, without any definitive aim.
Scrolling unlimited pages, playing online games and surfing random websites continuously are some of the activities which a person suffering from this disorder normally does.
Case Study In Bangalore
There is an interesting case study of a 18 year old girl who is being currently treated in India’s first Internet De-addiction center in Bangalore. The girl started spending more than 8 hours on the Internet, and soon began to bunk her school in order to surf web.
When her parents stopped her from accessing internet at home, she started to steal money and visit cyber cafes. When her parents realized the impact of Internet on her life, they finally decided to take professional help and admitted her at the de-addiction center which is run by National Institute of Mental Health and Sciences (NIMHANS).
Ironically, this center is located just 12 kms from the IT hub in Bangalore.
Case Study In Delhi
In Delhi, Internet De-addiction center is being run by Uday Foundation. In a case study, a 14 year old girl was admitted here with a ‘depression’ problem. She used her smartphone almost 24 hours a day, with constant updating and posting of pics and status messages on different social networks. Soon, she started displaying symptoms of depressions if her pics and status updates didn’t receive expected likes and comments. As of now, she is visiting the de-addiction center in Delhi every weekend, where she is encouraged to play outdoor games, do Yoga and read physical, hardcopy books.
How Serious Is The Problem In India?
As per a study conducted by NIMHANS, 73% of teenagers in urban India are affected by “psychiatric distress”, and overuse of technology has been cited as one of the reasons.
13-15 year olds are often addicted to video games, and 15-17 year olds are surfing Facebook for more than 10 hours a day.
Such addiction to Internet based activities make them socially isolated and confused, besides having physical problems such as eye-sight problems and back-ache.
Just like any other mental problem, Internet de-addiction takes time and a determined approach to get over it. ‘Patients’ are motivated, and educated about proper usage of technology, and allowed disciplined access to the web, under supervision.
In our view, over-usage of anything is bad. Even if I eat large quantity of food in a single instance, I may die from over-eating. Similar is the case with Internet usage. Information overload, too much social media activities and games can play havoc with the brain and change the natural flow of actions.
And Internet De-Addiction Centres is maybe just the right thing for such ‘web-addicts’.