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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 277-279

Digital technology use among adolescents in a psychiatric inpatient setting

1 Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Neurosciences Kolkata, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
2 Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, NIMHANS, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sk Altaf Hossien
Institute of Neurosciences Kolkata, 185/1 A.J.C. Bose Road, Kolkata - 700 017, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijsp.ijsp_219_21

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Technology enhances social communication and connectedness, people. However, it may predispose youth with socioemotional and psychological vulnerabilities, such as mental health disorders, to further behavioral and emotional dysregulation and adverse experiences such as cyber-bullying. We assessed digital technology use among adolescents requiring psychiatric inpatient care, i.e., with moderate-severe mental health morbidity. We found that over 95% of adolescents had regular digital technology use, via mobiles or tablets. The prevalence of problematic use was ~30% while technology addiction could be detected in close to 6%. A particularly concerning issue was the near-constant use of technology throughout the day, in almost 40% of adolescents, especially those with externalizing disorders, severely compromising time remaining for other developmentally appropriate engagements. Our findings suggest the need to incorporate assessment of digital technology use in the clinical evaluation of adolescents with mental illnesses. This would have critical implications for developmentally informed, life-skills-based interventions that are contemporaneous with the rapidly evolving digital-human interface in this population.

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