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India's first Internet de-addiction clinic offers counselling to "Web Addicts"

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June 18, 2014, 10:34:46 AM
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How addicted are you to the Internet and online games? Are you constantly on Facebook without any reason? India's first Internet de-addiction clinic is trying to solve these and other problems that the virtual world has taken over lives with.

During a slow summer vacation, four friends have got together to hang out and what they were doing is perhaps what one would see in their homes too - chatting on Whatsapp, playing video games and learning music from YouTube.

"It's a big part of who we are, our phones. Most of my online friends, I don't know much about them they're just there on my list. I doubt I have 545 friends in real life," one of them said.

Yet this lifestyle has become an addiction to some. Like a 29-year-old engineer who used to surf the web for almost 20 hours a day. "If possible, I could stay round the clock. Anything I could watch on the Internet, anything and everything," he said.

That's when he came to the Shut Clinic, short for Services for Healthy Use of Technology. This is the first Internet de-addiction centre of its kind in India started by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences offering counselling to addicts to help them replace technology usage with healthy activities.

"In a week, 4 to 5 enquiries are there, mostly about teenagers of 13-17 age group and parents say there is excessive use of phones. Internet shows it affects the daily schedules and academic schedules. They lose control, sometimes a person loses control or technology makes the person lose control," said Dr Manoj Sharma, Clinical Psychologist.

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, but if one talks more on WhatsApp than face to face, if one is constantly checking their phone for messages and Facebook likes and lets their smartphone get smarter than them and decides how they spend their day, that's when psychologies say one needs to start worrying and may be, log out.

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