Himali Doshi @himali_3
Ahmedabad: With an increase in number of cases of teens having social anxiety disorder, the Institute of Behavioural Science centre of Gujarat Forensic Science University (GFSU) is set to include cyber psychology in its curriculum.
The institute that receives three such cases in a week will be second such institute in the country to have a separate paper on cyber psychology under forensic psychology course. Numerous experts will be invited from foreign countries to conduct sessions on the same. . In India, at present, only NIMHANS (National Institute of Health and Neuro Sciences) at Bangalore provides training in the area of cyber psychology. The decision of introducing such a paper has been taken after cases of children and teens suffering from depression, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and social anxiety were found. When diagnosed, the reason behind this was their excessive usage of computer and addiction to social networking sites.
Explaining more about the urgent need to introduce cyber psychology CR Mukundan, Director, IBS, said, “IBS centre focuses on the genesis of crime by investigating the sociological and psychological factors that leads to the criminal activities. Addiction to mobile and net is also one of the reasons which lead to the behavioural problems and other problems like depression, social anxiety and ADHD among children. If these sensitive issues are not properly treated at the initial stage, they might even lead to the development of criminal behaviour among children and adolescents.”
IBS receives about three such cases a week. He further added that the internet has a very positive role to play in the society. One cannot think about the world without internet as the world has become a global village because of it. But, at the same time, it is equally important to learn self-discipline and socialization.
Dr Hansal Bhachech, consultant psychiatrist, HCG group of hospitals, said, “I receive about 10 to 15 cases a month where directly or indirectly these kinds of issues are related to an individual’s health. Earlier, people were not worried about their social life because their social life was restricted to certain people. But now social life has become global. Teenagers are particularly worried about what other people think of them. Whatever good they do, they have an urge to post this on a social networking site or share it somewhere because they need some kind of social acceptance. They need approval of their own abilities through certain number of likes and comments, and for this, they keep checking their mobiles and laptops again and again. Cases of people with social anxiety have almost gone up by 30 per cent. There are lot of teenagers who have started taking counselling sessions as they cannot concentrate on studies. These teenagers are aged between 8-16 years,” he said.
Umangi Desai, mother of Priyal Desai, studying in class 12, Asia High School, said, “There was a time when Priyal was addicted to the smart phone she was given. This led to many problems like she was becoming increasingly impatient and her concentration level reduced. Taking away the smart phone from her was not the solution to the problem. She had to be properly counselled about how the social media should be used for her advantage. As a responsible parent, I did this and this led to the improvement in her academic performance.” Pranjal Vyas, father of a second year student Parth Vyas opined that academic performance improved after steps were taken to control his activities on social networking sites. “We observed that due to the constant usage of social networking sites like Facebook and Whatsapp, Parth was living more in the virtual world than in the real world.”