Smartphone addiction affecting teens’ mental health, say experts

Prajakta Joshi
Saturday, 12 January 2019

“Smartphones are everywhere these days. The children often have the nature to compare with their peers and since their friends have such gadgets, they also feel like having them and when refused they get enraged and sometimes harm themselves,” Pawar added.

Pune: The New Year, this time, began with a shocking incident of a teenager hanging himself to death as his parents had taken away his mobile phone. Around two months ago, the city was shocked by a similar incident where another teenager committed suicide because he was denied the use of smartphones by his parents.

With increasing dependency on smartphones among adolescents, cases of mental illnesses, aggression and suicides are increasing rapidly. Addiction to social media adds to the problem. 

Speaking on the issue, Vikramsinh Pawar, Senior Programme Coordinator at Connecting NGO and Suicide Helpline, Pune, said although the helpline does not get many calls, reports of depression and suicidal tendencies in this age-group due to dependence on the gadgets have been observed quite often these days.

“Smartphones are everywhere these days. The children often have the nature to compare with their peers and since their friends have such gadgets, they also feel like having them and when refused they get enraged and sometimes harm themselves,” Pawar added.

He added, “Smartphones come with a package deal of Internet connection and social media. These are houses of games and websites, sometimes very dark in nature. These add to the distress amongst teenagers.”

Speaking about the effect of smartphones and Internet on studies, Nilima Apte, Centre Head at Jnana Prabodhini Samshodhan Sanstha’s Centre of Aptitude Testing and Career Counselling, said, “Dependency on gadgets reduces reasoning power of children. Earlier, for homework or assignments, the children indulged in reading and research. However, now as everything is available on Google, the children use everything available readymade. The reading habit is vanishing.”

Apte insisted that smartphones do lead to aggressive behaviour among adolescents. “With lack of communication, the students resort to aggressive behaviour. This is seen more in teenage boys than the girls,” she added.

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