Express News Service
CHENNAI: The Internet De-Addiction Centre in Government Omandurar Medical College Hospital has treated more boys than girls since its inception in December last year, says data from the centre. The centre has so far treated 67 cases of internet addiction, of which 15 were boys and eight were girls. Among the adult group, 39 men received the treatment compared to just five women.
Doctors opine the trend could be because boys are given priority over girls in families. The hospital is currently doing a cross-sectional study on the prevalence of internet addiction among urban population in the State. According to Dr Malar Moses, head of the Psychiatry Department at the hospital, some parents would be more worried about boys not doing well in studies than girls. So, the numbers could be indicative of the bias in treatment. It is similar to how treatment-seeking behaviour is more prevalent among men when compared to women. Dr Malar Moses said they have collected data with the ongoing study using 1,400 participants, but are yet to do its analysis.
Speaking about one of the cases that the centre dealt, Dr R Jayanthi, the dean of the Hospital said a 14-year-old boy was brought by his mother with complaints of abnormal hand movements. The boy was, however, unaware of his condition, she added.
“When he was shown the video of his abnormal movements, the boy started crying. He had started playing mobile games for fun, later got addicted to it, and started staying awake until 3 am to compete with his friends. He lost appetite, interest in studies, and refused to write board exams. After counselling and medication, his abnormal hand movements have reduced, and he has slowly started showing interest in studies again,” Dr R Jayanthi said. Student volunteers from Madras School of Social Work have also been involved in helping the students treated at the centre to get back to their normal lives.
Meanwhile, B Elayaraja, Counselling Psychologist, Kavithalaya Counselling Centre, Chennai said parents should restrict children’s use of mobile phones in the beginning itself. “If their children want to play games, they should make them sit in a hall and allow them to play on the desktop under their supervision. Also, they should keep time restrictions. If they observe any functional changes in them, they should intervene and start counselling. If it doesn’t help, then they should seek professional counsellors help,” said Elayaraja.