Capio Nightingale Hospital in Central London has opened what may be the first rehab clinic for children as young as age 12 who are addicted to the Internet, computer games and mobile phones, the Daily Mail reported March 17.
“Mental health services need to adapt quickly to the changing worlds that young people inhabit, and understand just how seriously their lives can be impaired by unregulated time online, onscreen or in-game,” said Dr. Richard Graham, a consulting psychiatrist for the hospital’s new clinic.
“Many of the existing services fail to recognize the complexity of these situations, borrowing from older models of addiction and substance abuse to very limited effect,” he added.
“I’ve been contacted by parents who see their children going into a rage when they’re told to turn off their computer. Some end up having to call the police.”
Treatment strategies at the clinic will include increasing off-screen social activities, improving the subject’s interpersonal relationships face-to-face, helping patients think about their relationship to the screens they use and learn skills to help them switch off their phones and computers.
- Sources: The Daily Mail, 03/17/10.