Social media abetting cyber bullying: Doctors

Sunday, 19 January 2014 – 1:53pm IST | Place: Bangalore | Agency: dna

While social media has revolutionised communication in the 21st Century, its downsides too have been just as drastic, with adolescent users getting addicted to the medium and increasingly exhibiting symptoms of aggression and depression.

Bangalore, being the tech capital of the country, is turning endemic to ‘social media abuse’, as experts term the phenomenon. Psychiatrists at National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (Nimhans) have evidence to testify the claim.

Associate professor of the department of child and adolescent psychiatry, Nimhans, Dr K John Vijay Sagar, said: “Of late, we have been witnessing a rising number of adolescents coming in with behavioural changes and when we go through their history over a period of time, we learn that it is owing to the overuse of social media and most of them have internetaddiction. This trend was not there earlier.”

When 14-year-old Manjula started exhibiting symptoms of aggression, her parents were clueless on how to deal with the situation, and two months later, they decided to take her to Nimhans.

Incidentally, Manjula was gifted a mobile phone by a relative, and ever since she has been hooked on to the internet, especially social networking sites.

It was learnt that Manjula developed the symptoms after a 15-year-old boy she had befriended on Facebook and spent long hours chatting with suddenly distanced himself from her. As a result, she even stopped going to school and had almost plunged into depression. This was when her parents felt the need to seek professional help.

“Owing to cyber bullying, youngsters not just avoid going to school, but also become victim of depression and go to the extent of committing suicide. Manjula is just one of the many victims of social media abuse. Many similar cases are reported at our centre.

“In most cases, parents do not reveal such problems that their children go through. But it is necessary to discuss and avail the required medical intervention,” Dr John said.

Seconding his opinion was consultant psychiatrist of Premiere Speciality Centre, Dr K Raghu. 
“The number of young adults becoming victims of social media in India is on a constant rise. 
Those falling under this age group are always on the look out for new things. This apart, peer and societal pressures are among the chief causes.”