To All Parents with Teens…
Last night Anna was in her study room till late night. Her Mother called her thrice for dinner but Anna did not respond. Her mother heard her crying in the room. She went to her and asked ‘what happed?’. Anna started hawling and said, ‘Mummy I think I have Breast cancer. I am having pain around my armpit area and I just checked on the internet that it is one of the symptoms of breast cancer. Amita’s mother was shocked. They could not sleep at night. In early morning they went to see a cancer specialist.
The doctor after examining prescribed some tests and medicines and asked them how they were so sure that Anna has cancer. Hearing this, Amita said that she checked it on net. The Doctor started laughing and said that whatever is available on internet is not always true. Pain in armpit may be a symptom for breast cancer but all such problems need not be cancer.
‘I do not think you have cancer but still for your satisfaction, I am prescribing some tests. My advice is to stop using internet for a while’, said the Doctor. Amita asked ‘why?’. ‘Because I think you have cyberchondria’, said the doctor. Amita’s mother became more nervous. ‘Is this a new disease?’
“Yes” He said, “it is a new age disease, a diseases of suspicion. The person starts relating their small health problems to chronic diseases. He starts looking for its implications on net. If the situation is not controlled the person can suffer with depression. It is unfounded escalation of concerns about common symptomology based on review of search results and literature online’.
Cyberchondria is a major concern among health experts . With the growing interest among youth to be healthy and fit and the easy access to all health related information online, this problem is very frequent.According to health experts searching for health related information is good but applying it on oneself and unnecessary worry is dangerous.
The bad thing about cyberchondria is that the victims can not realize that he has a problem or in other words, he or she becomes self defensive. A general awareness about this disease on the internet is the best way to control it.
As parents, you should see that the articles or websites your kids are browsing are competent. For health query always brows websites that are registered by known health practioners or institutions like ministry of health.
It is important to teach your children that the information available on net is situation specific and cannot be true in all situations.
Always verify and seek medical advice from a known practioners when you are in doubt.