CRY research claims internet addiction increases with age; was greater among those with private rooms, access to personal mobile devices
A recent survey among teenagers in the National Capital Region found 49 per cent of them to be addicted to internet. The addiction was greater among those with rooms to themselves, access to personal mobile devices and who did not have both parents at home. It increased with age too.
The study, by non-profit Child Rights and You, classified addiction levels from mild to severe: While 34 per cent of the teens surveyed showed signs of mild addiction, 14 per cent were moderately addicted; one per cent of the teens suffered from severe addiction.
Having accounts on social media platforms increased the possibility of addiction, according to the study. Instances of severe addiction were seen among 1.1 per cent of those who had social media accounts compared to those who did not have any such account.
Around 70 per cent of the addicted teens were between 15 and 18 years of age, while considerably high proportions of addiction were found in those teens who studied in Classes XI (30 per cent) and X (26 per cent).
“Any technological solution that monitors and controls devices used by adolescents for their content and screen-time will not deliver the desired results. Therefore just developing privacy settings, parental controls, etc, will not be sufficient. There will always be a need for other solutions that require building knowledge and skills of the adolescents to be safe and secure,” the study said.
Morphing of images and videos was the most harmful ill-effect discussed with the teens, while the least-harmful was cyber-bullying, the study showed. When it came to cyber-bullying, the study found no variations for genders but found such experiences increasing with age.
Abuse or hacking of profiles was more prevalant among boys (12 per cent) than girls (7 per cent). Girls however, reported such ill-effects much more than boys. However, more boys than girls experienced these ill-effects, the study claims.
How to beat it
Framing internet safety rules alone will not be enough, according to the study. Such rules must be included in school curriculums:
Incidences and their reporting did not find the required direction even when the adolescents had information about the rules. Real knowledge and skills of using and practicing those rules need to be built among the adolescents with the help of teaching and learning those rules need to be built among the adolescents with the help of teaching and learning processes and classroom interactions.
The prevalence of internet addiction was tested using a 20-item questionnaire called the Young Internet Addiction Test (YIAT) developed by Kimberly Young. The study surveyed 630 teenagers (aged 13-18) across Delhi, Noida and Faridabad.
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