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Smartphone-- a gadget-turned-addiction among youngsters

Press Trust of India  |  Pune 

Harshal (name changed) would spend hours glued to his smartphone, chatting on nearly 30 groups on and surfing other

The 27-year-old Pune-based did not realise that he was suffering from 'screen-addiction' till it started taking toll on his health and professional life.

Now, having undergone a de-addiction treatment, he is happy to be a "digitally detoxed" person.

After undergoing rehabilitation at the Manovikas screen de-addiction centre here, Harshal is now following strict rules about the use of and internet.

He has not only deleted several applications from his phone, but also reduced the number of groups to three and prefers reading books and practising mediation.

His is not the only such case.

As many as 95 cases of have been reported at this centre in the last two months, said Dr Ajay Dudhane, of Anandvan (drug and alcohol) De-Addiction and Rehabilitation Centre, which runs the screen de-addiction facility in

The addicts are mostly in the age group of 16 to 27 years. Two of them were so severally addicted to internet gaming, and surfing sites that they had to be admitted at the facility, he said.

"Of late, during our alcohol and drug addiction rehabilitation work, we got requests from some colleges about students being addicted to their so much that it was affecting their studies and attendance," said Dudhane.

The NGO, in its questionnaire for students, was surprised to find out that the 'last seen' status of majority of them on the messaging apps were 2.30 am, 3 am and 3.30 am.

"The findings showed that students, who had morning classes, used to be on sites till late hours and it was affecting their health and studies," he said.

Elaborating on the case of a 17-year-old youth from Mumbai, he said the boy used to be on several social media sites and had the habit of posting his locations to invite cheers and comments from his friends.

He said the boy used to share locations, like of five-star hotels, where he was not even present. One day, he posted a fake message, saying he was on way to and shared a location of the international airport.

"This was the wake up call for his parents, who then brought him to us," he said.

Dudhane said the addiction is not only growing in children, but is also prevalent among adults.

"have made the communication easier, but excess use of the gadget is making people isolated," he said.

At the de-addiction centre, a person is taught meditation. He/she undergoes psychological and behavioural tests and, if required, is even admitted, the added.

Dr Amod Borkar, a at the centre, said unlike drug and alcohol addicts, the "digital addicts" are bound to use the same gadgets after they get treated.

"The challenge is how they restrict their use to ensure they do not become slaves of their or other gadgets again," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, January 13 2019. 16:35 IST
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