‘Smart­phones ad­dic­tion af­fect­ing young­sters’

The Hitavada - - NATION -

PUNE, Jan 13 (PTI)

HARSHAL (name changed) would spend hours glued to his smart­phone, chat­ting on nearly 30 groups on What­sApp and surf­ing other so­cial net­work­ing sites.

The 27-year-old Pune-based paint­ing con­trac­tor did not re­alise that he was suf­fer­ing from ‘screenad­dic­tion’ till it started tak­ing toll on his health and pro­fes­sional life. Now, hav­ing un­der­gone a de-ad­dic­tion treat­ment, he is happy to be a ‘dig­i­tally detoxed’ per­son.

Af­ter un­der­go­ing re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion at the Manovikas screen de-ad­dic­tion cen­tre here, Harshal is now fol­low­ing strict rules about the use of smart­phone and in­ter­net. He has not only deleted sev­eral so­cial me­dia ap­pli­ca­tions from his phone, but also re­duced the num­ber of What­sApp groups to three and prefers read­ing books and prac­tis­ing me­di­a­tion. As many as 95 cases of in­ter­net/screen ad­dic­tion have been re­ported at this cen­tre in the last two months, said Dr Ajay Dud­hane, Chair­man of Anand­van (drug and al­co­hol) De-Ad­dic­tion and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­tre, which runs the screen de-ad­dic­tion fa­cil­ity in Pune. The ad­dicts are mostly in the age group of 16 to 27 years. Two of them were so sev­er­ally ad­dicted to in­ter­net gam­ing, on­line shop­ping and surf­ing so­cial me­dia sites that they had to be ad­mit­ted at the fa­cil­ity, he said.

“Of late, dur­ing our al­co­hol and drug ad­dic­tion re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion work, we got re­quests from some col­leges about stu­dents be­ing ad­dicted to their smart­phones so much that it was af­fect­ing their stud­ies and at­ten­dance,” said Dud­hane. The NGO, in its ques­tion­naire for stu­dents, was sur­prised to find out that ‘last seen’ sta­tus of ma­jor­ity of them on mes­sag­ing apps were 2.30 am, 3 am and 3.30 am. “The find­ings showed that stu­dents, who had morn­ing classes, used to be on so­cial me­dia sites till late hours and it was af­fect­ing their health and stud­ies,” he said. Elab­o­rat­ing on the case of a 17-year-old youth from Mum­bai, he said the boy used to be on sev­eral so­cial me­dia sites and had the habit of post­ing his lo­ca­tions to in­vite cheers and com­ments from his friends.

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