My younger brother is 18 years old and is good at learning computer-based activities. He has also learnt website designing and teaches a lot of his friends. But I am extremely worried about him spending a lot of time on the internet. This is affecting his health and concentration levels. How can we ensure that he does not get addicted to the internet?
-8/27/2014 12:20:00 PM
While computers are a must in today’s world, prolonged use of the computer can be harmful and students need to be aware of this. In addition to physical health, computers can also cause psychological problems like anxiety, depression and social isolation.
If one spends long hours surfing the net, then one does lose contact with the surroundings and may end up with severe mood swings. Fortunately, in most instances, this is temporary and self-limiting, provided the person is not harbouring any underlying behavioural problems.
Research says that anyone who surfs the net for more than four to five hours a day is in need of medical help. Net addiction is often viewed by psychologists in the same light as alcoholism, gambling addiction or substance abuse.
A strong tendency for social withdrawal and academic decline is also known to be associated with it.
Be firm and polite with him. Help him divert attention to other meaningful activities. Advise a brief rest and a break every 30 to 40 minutes of computer usage to drink water or talk to someone or look for more diverse and healthy means of entertainment.
Above all, apprise him of the sociological issues about the use of cyberspace. Rationalising the usage of cyber space helps highlight the positive aspects of life. Initiate consistent dialogue on finding optimism in a regimented daily schedule of life with emphasis on studies and career building.
Indulging in outdoor sports activity or any other creative arts such as dance, painting, drama or learning to play an instrument can also be worth trying. If all these efforts don’t help, consult a professional. ---- Jitendra Nagpal
My brother is 17 years old and has recently started attending a lot of social events where free alcohol is available. He is gradually getting addicted and has become secretive about his drinking at home. As a sister I am worried as I can see him getting into a vicious cycle with a lot of behavioural difficulties and disinterest in any career. I feel helpless. How do I help him?
-8/20/2014 2:41:00 PM
In these times when alcohol and other substances are freely available and socially acceptable, many youngsters get into early and heavy drinking completely ignorant of the dangerous consequences to life circumstances.
Well, it does mostly begin from social drinking and becomes a habit. It’s time that you to speak to your brother and make sure he is in good mood. Be patient, consistent and polite but firm. Do not accuse him of being a substance abuser, but do express your concern regarding the issue. Tell him that he should be more aware and responsible.
It is important to let him know that you care for him and understand his situation. And yes, be prepared for resistance and anger. When confronted, he might defend and blame others for the problem, or give excuses for the need to experiment. He may even blame the home environment.
Enhancing social skills will resist the social pressures to drink and indulge in hard core drugs. You can take support like self help groups or peer educators where he can learn more about other people’s alcohol problems and similar issues. If needed seek professional help.------- Jitendra Nagpal
I have an 18-year-old boy who has no faith in religion. I do not like this but I’m not sure how to react. My son believes in the supreme power but not in rituals. He argues that God judges us through our actions and not on traditions. What should I tell him?
-8/6/2014 12:27:00 PM
Culture and traditions help keep a community together. However, the young generation should not be forced to follow them. I would advise you not to restrain your son from questioning traditions.
In this age, children want justification for everything and not giving them the freedom could confuse him. Try to give him reasons for his argument, along with books on spiritualism or the Ramayana or texts from other religions etc. You can also take him to places of worship and help him understand more about them. Freedom of choice is very important, so he should be allowed to choose whatever he is comfortable with.
Arguments and questions are common at this stage, and as a parent, you should be able to give a valid justification as to why you follow such practices, and allow them to take their own decisions. I would recommend an open discussion with him but make sure you don’t get angry. Be sensitive and make sure this issue doesn’t create problems between you. ---- Jitendra Nagpal