9-Year-Old Slashes Wrist On Being Deprived Of Mobile Phone

न्यूज़ वर्ल्ड इंडिया | 0
| July 4 , 2017 , 12:38 IST

In what is being touted as the youngest case of mobile phone dependence, a 9-year-old boy from Haryana cut his arm with a kitchen knife when he was deprived of the device and had to be admitted to the hospital.

The Class IV student held a mobile phone for the first time when he was still an infant. His parents, both working, would use the mobile phone to distract the child so that he would eat easily at feeding times. At the tender age of 4 years, the parents gifted the boy a mobile phone of his own, which became his favourite toy. His parents never pushed him to go out, believing that not going outside would to keep him away from bad company. The boy fell into a habit of eating only when he had the mobile phone, and would either watch YouTube videos or play games while eating.

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One year back, his parents began realising that there might be a problem when the boy started showing symptoms of withdrawal when the mobile phone would be taken away from him. When the boy began having constant headaches, they found out that his eyesight was failing and the boy was prescribed spectacles. His parents were advised to not the child use mobile phones and other screens like laptops and television. However, any effort to remove the mobile phone from him resulted in anger, irritation, temper tantrums and aggressive behaviour, classic symptoms of withdrawal.

Rushed to a Delhi hospital when he cut his forearm with a kitchen knife after being deprived of a mobile phone, the boy and his parents were referred to the hospital Sir Ganga Ram Hospital’s consultant psychiatrist, Dr. Rajiv Mehta who termed the case as 'one of the youngest cases of mobile dependence'.

According to the specialist, the effects of mobile phone dependence are being increasingly seen as equivalent to substance abuse.

 “Anything is termed as dependence when it is in excess and when it starts affecting social and occupational life. In case of substance dependence, the person knows that excessive consumption of the substance is affecting his social and occupational life but still he cannot control it. Just like in drug dependence, in this case, the child had signs of craving, social isolation, feelings of anger and tension when the mobile was not with him. While ‘mobile phone dependence’ has still not made its way to the diagnostic manual, psychiatrists are now using this nomenclature,” Dr. Mehta said to Indian Express.

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Having been prescribed anti-depressants, the Class IV boy is now undergoing therapy to encourage 'alternative ways of living'.

“While he has been put on anti-depressants, the main treatment is changing his dependence. He is trying to meet new children. We are ensuring he has new hobbies. We are encouraging him to play table-tennis. He has started liking it. He is also going for music classes to relax his mind.” Dr. Mehta was quoted as saying.

However, Dr. Mehta maintains that the main focus of the treatment is 'positive parenting'. Describing it as the 'key' to the boy's recovery, Dr. Mehta has advised the parents to have a gadget free-home until the boy is 13 and spend more time together.