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London gets kiddie Internet addiction centre

Comment: Bad behaviour is not an illness
Thu Mar 18 2010, 12:55

A PRIVATE LONDON CLINIC has launched the UK's first therapy programme for children addicted to the Internet and computer games.

The Capio Nightingale Hospital will treat children who are so hooked on technology that their health is at risk.

According to the Evening Standard, the 'illness' causes kids to fly into a rage if they are told to turn off their computers.

Odd really, when I was a lad such kids were called spoilt brats and given a clip around the ears until they did as they were told. Now it seems they are told that they have an illness and get taken to a special clinic.

Actually the clinic's technique is something that parents could do in their own homes if they were so minded to do so and had the confidence to tell their precious little wonders what to do.

The Evening Standard said that children as young as 12 will have to go 'cold turkey' in a residential unit to wean them off their compulsion. They will also be taught face-to-face social skills.

This seems to imply that it is not so much an addiction as the little tyrants are used to getting their own way and their parents are too scared to tell them that they have to switch off their computers. Just like they are too frightened to tell them that supermarkets are not playgrounds.

Of course it does not stop the standard moaning about how the centre was being inundated with calls from worried and apparently helpless parents who fear that their kids might have an illness.

Some 'screenagers' are developing sleep disorders and depression as a result. They are also not eating their vegetables and feel a sense of isolation from society.

We used to call this normal teenage alienation, a phase that many kids go through as they learn how to relate to their families and friends as individuals.

However Dr Richard Graham, an expert in child and teen disorders who heads Capio Nightingales' Young Person Technology Addiction Service, said that technology addiction is like gambling.

"You end up with withdrawal symptoms such as agitation. You get hyper-stimulated so you're always on the alert." The problem it seems is that some children play games like World Of Warcraft for the social contact.

Graham said the UK needs some form of official guidelines now on what counts as healthy or unhealthy use of technology.

Like Britian does not have enough legislation because people are seen as too stupid to have common sense and manage their own lives. µ




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