When IIT-Bombay restricted Internet use on campus in March 2007, the decision created a furore.
The premier engineering institute was accused of taking students to the Dark Ages and likened with Chinese clinics that use shock therapy to ‘cure’ Internet addicts.
The American Psychiatric Association is now considering including Internet Addiction Disorder as a formal diagnosis.
Experts around the world are debating whether governments should monitor Internet use so that people don’t become addicted to the Web.
IIT-Bombay’s student welfare dean Prakash Gopalan is glad they had the foresight to keep a check on Internet use. “The attendance in morning classes has gone up, more students are participating in sporting and cultural activities and they are seen socialising in the common rooms,” he said.
IITians are not allowed to use the Net between midnight and 7 am. The institute had restricted its use after two suicides in 2005-06 were linked to it.
Nishant Shah from The Centre for Internet and Society at Bangalore, however, said the regulations were unnecessary.
“Internet is just a gateway. There is nothing wrong with the technology. We should educate people to make their engagement with the Internet more productive,” he said.
Reformed Net addicts Ramya (30), and Moksh Juneja (27) said there is no need to have regulations. “Adults should be allowed to decide what is best for them. It is not fair to govern Internet use,” said Ramya, who restricted her Internet use because of neck pain.