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Do you need an internet detox?

education Updated: Mar 05, 2014 10:59 IST
Vandana Ramnani

Shantanu Ghosh, a Class 12 student appearing for his Boards this year, cannot get his eyes off the computer screen, especially his Facebook account. He waits for hours to see how many of his friends have liked his post and gets disappointed if they do not comment or write something nasty. Also, he tends to get completely stressed out if his friend informs him on chat that he has revised two more chapters than him. All this takes his mind off studies and his parents fear this may take a toll on his scores.

So, how much time should children getting ready for their Boards this year, spend on the internet? Should they completely abstain from it or are a couple of hours just fine? Most experts are of the view that it is healthy for children to use the internet to take a break for a few minutes as it can help boost productivity, but they should not use it for too long as any negative comment from a friend can be distressing.

While using the net is important for kids, during exams they should be accessing it for not more than an hour every day, advises psychiatrist Dr Jitendra Nagpal. For a majority of kids today, it is a means of communication. Also, it should be used to relax the mind during exams and not to tax it with emotional trauma or distress as it has often been seen that kids get distressed about what their friends may post on their Facebook, some even get anxious about whether their friends have liked their post or not and often wait for hours if friends do not respond. If they end up worrying about such issues during exams, they may not be able to concentrate on their studies, he says.

Also, while using the internet during exams, they should not be chatting about how much their friends have studied or not studied, this tends to build stress and trauma rather than relax the mind. Ideally, there are other ways to unwind during exams such as music, a short phone call etc.

Mind you, excessive use of the internet is a disorder and can cause mental fatigue. Too many hours on the cyberspace takes away time for the glorious preparation for exams, he adds.

It is not advisable for children to completely abstain from the internet during exams, because some of them might feel stifled. They need to gradually reduce the time they spend on the internet. They should either use it for 15 to 20 minutes every one or two hours or just about an hour a day, points out Geetanjali Kumar, a parenting coach.

Set yourself free
Use the internet to relax, not to tax your mind
Don’t get distressed by comments made by friends online
Do not anxiously wait for them to like your page or picture
Never chat about how much you have studied or not studied
Unwind by listening to music or making short phone calls to friends

With inputs from Harini Sriram