Releasing Your Teens From Internet Lockdown
ParentEdge|March - April 2021
The new normal demands a large chunk of time to be spent online. For teenagers, time spent in online classes, assignments, project work, homework, tests and exams - all these add up to many hours a day, glued to screens. Furthermore, the current generation's usage of social media and online gaming is increasing day by day. So is parental anxiety about their children's wellbeing. How do parents help their teens and themselves?
Dr. K. Janakiraman

Is the Internet really the saviour?

When I interact with youth, they express that the Internet helps them maintain relationships with their peers (as schools are shut, they are not able to meet their friends physically). Also, they claim that going on the Internet helps them in understanding of concepts, better than what they get from books. They feel that the Internet also helps them to be updated about latest technology.

But it is impossible to ignore that there are many youngsters who suffer from physical disorders and intrapsychic conflict (an emotional or mental disturbance because of opposing thoughts, desires, or tendencies) due to excessive usage of gadgets and the Internet. In many cases, we see addiction to the Internet.

Internet addiction and how to deal with it

We know that people become addicted to substances/chemicals such as nicotine, alcohol, prescription and illegal drugs. A question that is frequently asked to me is: “Is a non-substance addiction such as gaming addiction an addiction at all? And my response is always, “Yes, behavioural addictions can be just as serious as substance addictions.”

Excessive Internet use has not been recognised as a disorder by the World Health Organisation or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). However, the related diagnosis of gaming disorder has been included in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). As a mental health professional, I see an increasing proportion of teenagers with problems related to internet addiction. Gaming addiction is seen in about a quarter of the children whom I encounter.

Internet addiction disorder (IAD), also known as problematic internet use or pathological internet use, is defined as problematic, compulsive use of the internet, that results in significant impairment in an individual’s function in various life domains over a prolonged period of time. Excessive use of the internet can also feed various addictions such as addiction to pornography, gaming and gambling.

Physical Disorders

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