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A brain kidnap: Is it you ,your parents or your child?

Are you a proud parent when your child cracks the various levels of game on mobile or any other device? If Yes,You need to read this.

Are you feel lost when you don’t have mobile phone with you? If Yes,You need to read this.

Are you always looking for online offers to shop more ? If Yes,You need to read this.

If the answers are No still you need to read this.

The previous blog of the series was introduction to the Addictions and things related to it  Read it on

“When you see and treat thousand patients of heroin addicts and treat one patient of true screen addict ,the screen addict you find far more difficult to treat”. This is a famous quote of Dr. Nicholas Kardars, (Psychiatrist  and Author )

Screen addict? What does that mean?

Unfortunately this type of addiction is more underrated by experts and common people too .Screen addiction is the compulsive need to glue once eyes and brain to some kind of audio visual screen.

Video gaming ,internet(gambling ,shopping, social media, chat rooms),mobile or computer ,television are the types of screen which can one become addicted to very easily.

How to identify that I or my kid am/is addicted to screen or internet?

Ask these questions to yourself or tally for your kids!

  • Do you feel preoccupied with the screen (think about previous online activity or anticipate next online session)?
  • Do you feel the need to use the Internet/screen with increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction?
  • Have you repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet /screen use?
  • Do you feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use?
  • Do you binge watch on web series more frequently?
  • Do you stay on-line longer than originally intended?
  • Have you risked the loss of significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the Internet/screen time?
  • Have you lied to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet/screen time?
  • Do you use the Internet/screen as a pleasure pill for your mood (way of escaping from problems e.g., feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)?

The YES answer to any five or more questions is enough to warn you about your internet or screen addiction.

Some serious concerns:

  • Growth in mobile phone and tablet market grows at 112% annually, and among 18 to 24 year old, an estimated 77% may suffer from nomophobia (fear of being without phone). (IDC, 2013)
  • 71% of office workers abuse the Internet during work hours visiting social networking sites, shopping online, reading personal email, or visiting pornography, gaming, or gambling sites.
  • India is the number one user of the internet and mobile phones in world ((53% of the total population).The number is increasing while i write this blog.
  • South Korea has seen 10 deaths recently in internet cafes due to heart and other problems, as well as a game-related murder.
  • The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mumbai adopted a measure to cut the students’ use of Internet in the school dormitories after the suicide of an IIT student in October of 2005 due to Internet abuse.
  • 84% of college counselor “strongly agrees” that Internet Addiction Disorder is a legitimate disorder. 94% of college counselors have “no training” on the treatment of internet addiction disorder.

What are the ill effects of Screen Addiction?

  • Individual who suffers from screen /Internet addiction are more likely to suffer from depression, experience academic and social problems at school, and are at greater risk to develop sleeping disorders, physical illnesses, obesity, eye disorders and carpel tunnel(painful wrist)syndrome.
  • Screen addiction causes serious brain damage. The constant video gaming and screen involvement produces more Adrenalin hormone rush in blood which increases the blood pressure and excitement level of the person. It affects the natural responses manner of the brain in various situations. Constant use of screen games /internet is seen to limit the normal frontal cortex (brain part) growth in children
  • Dopamine secretion in blood by brain is the just like ‘reward juice’ you get when you finish any task that involve brain and sense organs. This Dopamine need increases the urge of more screen and internet. The vicious circle is dangerous and hard to break.
  • Children with screen/Internet Addiction are more likely to develop Attention Deficit behaviour disorders.)
  • Screen addiction is more dangerous than even heroin or any other drug addiction
  • The level of excitement becomes habitual and increases resulting in deep screen addiction and want for more dangerous thrill games .Needless to say Blue Whale is an unfortunate example.
  • The constant moving objects, sound and involvement of emotions glued on screen can change the emotional traits of the child. Children watching television and cartoons more than one hour in a day seen to reflect violent responses and lack of peace.
  • Suicides, crimes, complicated relations, financial frauds ,exposure to the inappropriate material to the age are serious issues that comes hands in hand with the screen addiction

Treatment protocol:

  • Education about screen addiction and becoming aware of this type of addiction is a prime step.School workshops,NGos,Talks and media can play huge role.
  • The firm stand of parents despite of the tantrums of the kids needs a strong consistent will and constant efforts.
  • Taking help of the therapist is always encouraging as it many times needs expert’s intervention.
  • Rational emotive behavior therapy is the choice of the treatment in kids and adults too.Screen Addiction can be handled effectively this way.
  • Engaging in physical activities like sports, treks, walks etc purposefully helps a lot.
  • Self checklist, limiting the network accesses and installing the auto net disabling apps are really useful.

But still the most important thing about Screen Addiction is to identify it in right time and never neglect it as a hobby or harmless habit.

In next part of the blog the discussion on other addictions will go on.

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