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The cell phone addiction among children is on an alarming rise and parents should not take this matter lightly. Or else, they could end up risking their children’s life as it recently happened to the parents of a 9-year-old boy who slit his arm with a kitchen knife when they took away his mobile phone.
Based in Haryana, this class IV student is now undergoing counselling for mobile dependence, has been put on anti-depressants and is trying to follow the alternate ways of living.
The investigation reveals that the boy was first introduced to a mobile phone by his mother as a distraction so that he would eat his meals. But, what is shockingly surprising that his parents presented him with a mobile phone of his own when he turned four to keep him entertained. His parents are a working couple and thought that this device will keep their child occupied and away from the bad company if he played outdoors with his peers. Little did they know that their gift would come back to haunt them later.
The boy would get upset or angry, throw tantrums, and would even bang his head on the wall whenever he was refused his handset. When he started complaining of headaches and deteriorating eyesight, the doctors recommended him to wear spectacles. They also advised the parents to restrain their child from using digital devices. However, by then the situation had slipped out of control – the withdrawal symptoms were so acute that they led the boy to take the drastic step of slashing his arm.
Dr. Rajiv Mehta, the consultant psychiatrist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, says that this is one of the youngest cases of mobile dependence. He is now assisting the child to meet new kids, develop new hobbies, play table-tennis and attend music classes. He has also asked his parents to focus on positive parenting, which includes spending time with their child, go for family walks and have meals together at least once a day.
This child is on his way to recovery, but his case is a lesson to be learnt for all parents.
Experts say that nomophobia, the fear of being out of mobile phone contact, is taking an increasing number of people under its grip. Studies have found that children as young as 13 years are now put in smartphone rehab centres across the world.
Act before it is too late.