India worried by student internet addiction

Boredom has been cited as a main cause of internet addiction in Asia

A school in India has placed limitations on students' access to the internet, claiming that addiction to the web is damaging students' social lives and even their health. The Mumbai Institute of Technology says students are becoming antisocial and prefer to stay at home to surf the web than to meet friends or go to lectures.

"A student doesn't even know who lives two doors away from him because he is so busy on the internet," dean of student affairs, Prakash Gopalan, told Reuters. "The old hostel culture of camaraderie and socialising among students is gone. This is not healthy in our opinion."

Gopalan fears the internet is causing students to become anti-social and reclusive, and said that excessive blogging and gaming is leading to students feeling depressed and suicidal. The Institute has had two students commit suicide in the last two years, with several more unsuccessful attempts.

From today, access to the internet will be barred between 11 pm and 12.30 pm within the Institute's student halls. "There has been a decline in academic performance, and participation in sporting, cultural and social activities has gone down," reasoned Gopalan.

This is the latest in a series of internet addiction scares in Asia. China has banned the creation of any more internet cafes until at least 2008. Research suggests that nearly 2.5 million under-18 web surfers in China are 'addicted' to the internet.

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