Is Internet Addiction Real Problem or Just a Gimmick?

(Last Updated On: September 23, 2017)

Does your teenage child spend his most of the waking hours staring at the mobile screen endlessly? Has your once bubbly child turned into an immobile being with a phone in hand and no interaction with anyone? If yes, then your child needs immediate medical help as he may be suffering from internet addiction.

Internet addiction is not a parental gimmick but is a real problem, akin to drug addiction or gambling disorder. In a recent research report released by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on Aug. 17 by a network of doctors, neurobiologists, and scientists, it has been claimed that internet overuse has a significant impact on personal and social relations, socio-political environment, and mental and general health of the users.

“The neural networks of brain assigned to cognitive functions, get constantly irritated by incoming information and evoke mental reactions,” News 18 quoted the research by Etiologically Elusive Disorders Research Network (EEDRN). “The individual, as a result, becomes vulnerable impulsivity, and loss of working memory among others.”

In simpler words, it has now been scientifically proven that internet overuse indeed has addictive influences, and its accumulating effects may lead to an extreme level of stress.  Since our brain is naturally a  perpetually information-seeking organ, overload of information provided by the internet, especially social networking sites, ultimately hijacks its reward system. What result is a compulsive internet overuse and a liking for staying constantly online.

Although the prevalence of internet addiction goes beyond gender, age and geography, researchers also declared that internet overuse may have serious effects on learning and social communication in growing up children and teenagers “whose brain wiring is still maturing.”

If you think that it is not unusual and even acceptable for kids and teenagers to remain hooked to their smartphones, think again. You will be shocked to know that China has classified internet addiction as a mental disorder back in 2008 owing to addiction among 24 million children, as per Mensxp. The Chinese government has even set up internet de-addiction boot camps to heal these kids and give them a life of normalcy.

At these camps, kids are brought out of their comfort zone and made to go through a regressive military training, to snap them out of their indiscipline and make them addiction free.

If not checked, the problem of internet addiction may “mushroom as a Disease of Human Civilization,” the Dr. Ashutosh Kumar, Leading Scientist, and Co-Author, AIIMS/EEDRN said. Does India also need its own internet de-addiction boot camps?


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