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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A place without internet and with a lot of life

Por mayli2017

The day at the clinic starts at 7:00. Everyone wakes up to have their morning coffee together. An activity different from what young people are used to at home. In case anyone needs medication, that is the time to take it. The day begins in a positive way, taking a good and balanced breakfast, and then we do a group work, of mutual support, led by our team. Young people also take extra classes, where the schools send the contents to work, and so they continue studying while they stay at the center, then eat and divide into different workgroups.


Although one of the main drawbacks of the latest iPhone X, the most expensive in the history of Apple for US $ 1,000, in the United States and there are those who pay the equivalent of 40 new iPhones to keep their children away from the phone. The clinic offers specific treatments for young people who spend up to 20 hours a day with their eyes on their cell phone. This is the case of Paradigm, a mansion surrounded by gardens and security cameras at the highest point of a hill, about 30 km from San Francisco.

The clinic welcomes children and teenagers, between 12 and 18 years old, interned by parents to stop addiction online. Officially, the clinic is located in a neighboring city of San Francisco, called San Rafael. Without identification plates and only accessible by car, Paradigm hosts only eight young people simultaneously, in forced internments that last an average of 45 days, and can reach up to 60 depending on the degree of dependence and associated factors such as depression, anxiety and aggressiveness.

The rate impresses as much as the luxurious lounges and the hot tub overlooking the bay: US $ 1,633 per night. Inside the mansion, mobile phones, laptops and tablets are prohibited. Access to computers, on the other hand, is limited to school reinforcement classrooms, in which access to social networks, instant messaging applications and pornography are blocked. And its use is monitored closely by teachers and psychologists.

With set schedules to get up, study, eat and participate in a battery of collective and individual therapies, the promise of the clinic is to "reprogram" young people so they can rebuild their relationship with technology and re-approach their families, studies, friends and tasks "offline".

According to the director of the clinic, Danielle Kovac, says that their work in the center is to disconnect them. That is the rule. It is a period of adjustment for children. It is best to listen to many at the end of the treatment, thanking them for having their cell phones or social networks on a computer. Internet addiction is not an officially recognized disease in the United States.

Psychologists and American psychiatrists have various criteria, for some addiction would be more a symptom of other syndromes, such as paranoia and depression, and not the cause of them. For others, it would follow characteristics identical to those of other dependencies already known, such as alcohol and drugs. Countries like Australia, China, Italy and Japan, however, officially recognize the problem. In South Korea, Internet dependence was classified as a "public health problem" and is treated in public hospitals. For Paradigm directors, the Internet can aggravate mood and mental health disorders and serves as a "safe and anonymous refuge" that takes young people away from their relationships with the real world in a vicious cycle.

For Kovac, the diagnosis of internet dependence repeats the pattern of other addictions and is when it begins to affect other areas of life, such as social life or school. Many times, the notes go down because the children are on Facebook or Instagram all night, and then they can not get up to go to school or focus on school work. The director tells that a part of the patients arrives at the clinic after leaving school. Behaviors such as anger when the internet signal is interrupted, lying or hiding the use of social networks and the isolation and distance of the family are signs of addiction. It is vital that parents are able to determine parameters. Maybe cut off access to computers, iPads or phones before bedtime, or at meals or during school.

For the director, companies like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat know what they do. Not only children, but everyone, is creating a kind of addiction that can be found in these places.