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Last Updated Wednesday May 31 2017 12:06 AM IST

13-year-olds being treated for smartphone addiction

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Teenager with smartphone

New York: Technology addiction has become so widespread that children as young as 13 are now being treated for excessive use of smartphones and video games at a facility in the US, media reported.

The reSTART Life Center near Seattle is the only treatment unit of its kind in the western world and helps youngsters with addiction to digital technology, including video games, Sky News reported on Friday.

The treatment facility for adolescents between ages 13 and 18 is named Serenity Mountain.

"In a world filled with endless virtual influences impinging on personal and family connection, we are thrilled to have settled on a location rich in chill, and long on calm," reSTART said in a statement.

"When you start handing these devices to young children and they're distracted by the movement, the color and sound coming from this device, that is mesmerizing enough that it will override all those natural instincts that children actually have for movement and exploration and social interaction," the center's founder Dr Hilarie Cash was quoted as saying by Sky News.

The treatment is offered in different phases.

"Our Intensive assessment phase is designed for a comprehensive evaluation of individual and family functioning and typically runs about 8-12 weeks," reSTART said.

During this time, a specialized team of skilled clinicians works with individuals and their families to better understand the complex nature of digital media use, the inherent developmental challenges being faced, and the underlying medical and mental health conditions which complicate a desire to change.

For those requiring longer term care, an extended care program provides year-round support, with a typical stay lasting nine to 12 months.

Smartphone addiction has emerged as a major problem with devastating consequences in recent times.

A new study published in the Information Systems Journal found that people who use smartphones in excess may experience personal, social and workplace problems.

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