AMRITSAR: Not only the substance addiction is taking lives of Punjabi youth but with the vast popularity and unabated use of internet, the screen addiction has also emerged as a potent threat for people of all age groups using mobile phones, which is causing major behavioral disorders as well as impotency.
“There are over a dozen patients, with majority of young girls undergoing treatment of behavior disorder in our internet de-addiction centre,” said addiction psychiatrist Dr. JPS Bhatia while talking to TOI on Friday.
Stating that benefits of social networking was far less than its harmful effects, Bhatia said it was hiding one’s own true identity under the garb of a pleasing activity.
He said that parents approach with sudden fall in grades of their children while wives complain about their husbands neglecting them.
Among youth, the symptoms of screen addiction includes unconsciously looking at mobile phone, hand movement towards phone, relationship problems with immediate family members and living in a dream-like state. Giving example, Bhatia said that parent of one of his patients reported that their son spends hours in bathroom.
Vaishali (name changed), mother of a 15-year-old girl screen addict, said, “I was worried to find major changes in my daughter’s behavior. She would spend at least three to four hours in bathroom and when I clandestinely checked her mobile, it was full of porn stuff and more than one hundred male Facebook friends that was an alarming call.”
Bhatia said that among adult males, erectile malfunction was a major symptom. “When husband and wife are using cell phone, they feel they are being neglected. This emptiness leads to marital disharmony,” he said.
Notably, a recently released government data had disclosed Amritsar as the top city among others for sharing sexual abuse material. According to the data, Amritsar took top place with more than 4.3 lakh “files of interest” – code for child porn – shared between July 1, 2016 to January 15, 2017. While Delhi was second in the slot followed by Lucknow.
Talking about the treatment part, he said at the internet de-addiction centre, they give life skills counseling and advise on inculcating good habits while the male adults were made to realize the importance of real relations over the fantasy world of pornography.
While agreeing to the addiction caused by mobile phones and excessive use of internet, medical superintendent Guru Nanak Dev Medical Hospital Dr. Ram Saroop said that over-dependence on mobile phones was causing frustration among youth and related disorders.
Bhatia suggested to develop “role models” at the school level as the first measure to check the impending threat of screen addiction. “Students follow their teachers and if the teachers will keep the mobiles away, they will learn the same.”