This is a story that every parent could relate to, whose kids are getting trapped in the clutches of the internet.

Karthik is a 14-year-old teenager whose life existed around the internet. His indulgence led to a drop in grades, sleeping late, frequent fights with his parents over the time spent on the laptop, and limited interest in any other physical or social activity. His parents reached out and booked an appointment with us for him.

The psychologist enquired about the usage of the internet by the whole family, current ground rules, and what other activities the adolescent was interested in. The psychologist encouraged the parents to learn about positive discipline, keeping in mind the teenage period. They were motivated to law down some ground rules which would be applicable to the whole family like a time limit on the usage of the internet, spending time with family, etc.

The psychologist had a healthy conversation between the parents and Karthik* so that he understands the reasons behind the changes and how they would further benefit him. Negative discipline in the form of taking away the laptop or disconnecting the internet was discouraged by the psychologist as it would increase the gap between the parent and him. It would further boost behaviors that would be unsuitable for him like going to a friend’s place on the pretext of studying and ending in playing a game or two.

Obedience comes with respect and mutual respect was something that was stimulated by the
psychologist. The parents were advised to spend quality time with their son like playing a video game so that the child feels that his parents are ‘flexible” and “cool”. This further helps the parents to reach out to their son more effectively. It was also advised by the psychologist to ‘let go’ of the child and let him learn through his mistakes and face the repercussions so that he could grow and learn from his own mistakes.

Karthik* showed tremendous improvement and was able to restrict himself to the time allotted for internet usage and the parents too felt that the gap had been filled as their child started spending some quality time with them.

(*name changed for anonymity)