Bengaluru: If you suspect that any of your relatives or friends are addicted to smartphones and other gadgets, then help is available. The premier National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences (Nimhans) has launched a clinic – Services for a Healthy Use of Technology (SHUT), to rehabilitate those addicted to technology.
Dr Manoj Kumar Sharma, a coordinator and psychologist at SHUT, said, “We have done studies covering 13 to 50 year olds and found that the issue is prevalent not only among youngsters but also among the elderly. Most people use smartphones or other devices when they are bored to pass time. For some, technology is a reward after a long day, as a way of relaxing. Slowly, social media and other modes have become natural ways to communicate and get information and news. This is another reason why people spend so much time on their devices.”
He said, “Majority of the people we treat fall in the age group of 16-20. Most of the time, parents notice signs of addiction and initiate treatment. Those over 25 years old come seeking help themselves. Also, the addiction is not very high among them.”
He said, “We recently treated a boy studying in 10th grade and he was severely addicted to his smartphone. He got the smart phone when he was in the ninth grade. First, he was using Whatsapp and Facebook to talk to his classmates about school and notes, but soon, he was hooked on. He would sit with his smartphone for four hours straight before going to sleep. This resulted in sleep disturbances, communication problems, absenteeism from school, being secluded and avoiding parents. We assessed and treated him thoroughly as well as worked on his relationship and communication with his family and tried to make it more positive. We suggested that he stop using his phone 40 minutes before he goes to sleep, and after every 30 minute of use to take a 5-minute break to rest his eyes.”
How does one know when they are addicted to technology? Dr Sharma says that if their technology use is not disturbing their offline activities, their communication, if they do not delay real life decisions for virtual ones and continue without their devices peacefully, then there is no need to worry about being addicted.
This, along with SHUT’s standardised scale, can help anyone become aware about technology addiction....