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in addiction: a tacit threat for children

Published : 05 Nov 2019 09:17 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 09:50 PM

The total internet users in Bangladesh increased to 93.702 million in April, 2019, according to BTRC, an ominous sign to create harmful obstacles on way to children’s mental and physical development. Experts say, teens spend most of their time in the virtual world gradually move away from the real world and start living in a world of fantasy.

After a certain period, they become dependent on the internet to feel upbeat. The common negative effects of internet addiction are anxiety, sadness and depression. Busy parents hand over a variety of gadgets, including cell phones, to keep their children calm. From this the child develops a habit of enjoying technology. Many times they want to keep the child locked in the house because of insecurity. Professor of Clinical Psychology at Dhaka University Mohammad Mahmudur Rahman told the Internet is now very accessible and available at low cost. In addition, the smartphone is in the hands of everyone. As a result, they become accustomed to using the Internet in such a way that they cannot pay attention to anything else.

This is disrupting the young generation's mental development or development. The same thing happens with internet addicts in the same way as for a drug addict, he added. The use of internet makes the child self-centered, intolerant and antisocial, disrupts the development of the child's intellect, destroys creativity, takes away the baby's physical play time. In this way, the children become physically weak.

Behavioral addiction researcher Mohammed A Mamun said “Excessive use of internet among the students, who are not yet psychologically matured enough and are trying to adapt to their social environment, has put them at risk of internet addiction. Heavier recreational internet use is correlated highly with impaired academic performance, anxiety, and feelings of depression.”

Internet addiction has become an important health problem like drug addiction all over the world, including Bangladesh. Usually, mentally immature high school and college students are more prone to this problem, he stressed. According to a global survey, 2.1 percent of South Koreans and 13.7 percent of Chinese youths have this problem. In the United States and Europe, the percentage of those affected is 1.5 and 8.2 percent, respectively. No extensive survey has been done so far on the prevalence of this problem in Bangladesh.

In the beginning, the use of the Internet was to exchange information, but as the days go by, the versatility of its use is increasing. The Internet is open to all sections of society. Its commercial use is also gaining new levels. Therefore, the Internet is being used for information exchange, data collection, learning in the field of education, online media, entertainment and commercial activities. Dr Azizul Islam of department psychiatry at Arms Forces Medical College (AFMC) said, “Internet addiction is as horrible as the drug addiction. Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD), is equally destroying our young society. Addiction to it is increasing. It is stronger than drug addiction.”

In this regard, Clinical Counseling Psychologist Anisur Rahman said, “addiction to the Internet is one of the most complex problems and curses of today. Like other addictions, it is a catastrophic drug that adversely affects one's social, family and professional life. Mentioning health effect of internet, he pointed that psychological reactions include insomnia, excessive tension, depression, sexual problems, guilt, and decreased attention.

He further said the use of excessive internet leads to disruption of normal, family, social and professional life. It can be seen in response to physical problems such as neck and waistline, headaches and abnormal stress in the eyes. However, he suggested that, by reducing awareness of Facebook addiction and promoting awareness in schools, the current generation of young people can be protected from this evil. Workshops can be organized in schools.

He suggested “Gift children's books on children's birthdays or special days. Make him a habit of reading books slowly. If you read the book it will increase knowledge and on the other hand will reduce Facebook addiction. Keep mobile out of reach of children if possible. It is better if children are not given mobile phones”.

The issue of Internet addiction first came to the notice of psychologists in 1997 through the Cincinnati case. A woman by the name of Sandra Hacker used to spend more than 12 hours a day on the Internet, neglecting her three young children and keeping them locked in their rooms. Observing these women, many of the psychologists agreed that the Internet, like cigarettes, alcohol and drugs, also has compulsive power, which means that at one point, people are forced to use it against the will. From that idea, the word 'Internet addiction' was created.