In what is being reported as the "youngest case" of mobile dependence in India, a 9-year old boy in Delhi is being treated for serious withdrawal symptoms.
The class IV student, apparently been raised on a steady diet of mobile and screens since infancy, was recently advised to cut down on screen time due to eye sight issues. Depressed and in acute withdrawal, the child slashed his wrists and is undergoing treatment and counseling with a psychiatrist now.
Mobile phones (and tablets and TV and all screens) can turn from quick-fix nanny to constant entertainment to serious addiction very, very quickly. Increasingly, the child refuses actual human company, develops an intense relationship with the screen and is bonded to it. Any time apart from the screen is unbearable - an addiction as powerful as that of nicotine or cocaine. Weaning the child at this stage takes a lot of painful but necessary work.
But parents shouldn't wait that long! We all need to evaluate our media usage and that of our kids'.
It is one of the founding missions of ChildSafeMedia to help children and parents make the best use of technology. In our work with students, through the many ChildSafeMedia workshops, we teach them the skills required to safely navigate what can be a complex world of media and technology.
If you'd like to know how to lead a healthier tech life at home, start by reading these:
> Seized By The Screen: 5 Risks Your High-Tech Toddler Could Face.
> 10-Step Guide To Setting Responsible Screen Rules For Kids.
> Practise What You Preach: 12 Reasons Why Parents Need To Self-Evaluate Their Social Media Usage.
You can also request for a ChildSafeMedia workshop for yourself or for your kids.