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Addiction to social media leaving kids 'disconnected' [Hyderabad] [Times of India]
[January 03, 2014]

Addiction to social media leaving kids 'disconnected' [Hyderabad] [Times of India]

(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) HYDERABAD: Easy access to internet and an overdose of social media is causing serious behavioral damage to the city youth, psychiatrists have warned. Experts said that increased activity on social networking websites is causing youngsters to lose touch with the real world and is leading to depression, isolation and aggression. A recent study by a group of international researchers revealed that excessive use of social networking sites makes people miserable. The survey done among young adults showed that the more they access these sites, the less satisfied they felt with their own lives. Closer home, the situation is not very different as teenagers and young adults of the city are increasingly feeling discontented with their own lives due to overexposure to 'happy' images and videos of other people's lives online. Psychiatrists said they get 3-4 cases of behavioral impairment among youngsters due to addiction to virtual social networking. "Disconnect between the virtual world and real world is what causes the change in the behavioural pattern among net addicts. The trigger in many cases is when virtual 'friendships' don't match up to real expectations, causing depression and loneliness," said Dr Phani Prashant, consultant psychiatrist at Care Hospital. Experts have gone as far as to say that social network addiction is as serious as addiction to alcohol, smoking or gambling. "Internet addiction has to be treated like any other addiction for which the person must undergo rehabilitation. Patients are first counseled, advised to undergo digital fasting and are also made to go through cognitive behavioural therapy," said Dr Radhika Acharya, psychologist at Deccan Hospital. Parents, meanwhile, are also trying to become technologically savvy to keep a tab on their children's virtual activities. Counsellors often advise parents and teachers to play a monitoring role in regulating children's usage of such sites. "With the use of net-based gadgets becoming common among children, it is essential to keep a check on them. Parents must therefore not only be aware of their children's activities, but also be technologically aware," said Monika Agarwal, mother of two teenagers.

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