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Episode Name:

Digital Dangers: Exploring Problematic Interactive Media Use (PIMU) and Its Troubling Effects on Adolescents.


Ranjana Kushwaha – Policy Research Associate, her interest lies in social dimensions of the digital ecosystem.

Episode Summary:

In this episode of Unwiring Tech, Ranjana explores the reason behind spine chilling incidents which made headlines in recent times where children and adolescents took extreme steps when their digital devices were taken away fromthem or asked to limit screen time. This episode will also address the questions like what is PIMU and how children and adolescents are affected by it? And what can parents do?


Welcome to Unwiring Tech, I am your host Ranjana, this podcast is a platform where we delve into global digital issues, and explore the ‘why’ behind each topic and incidents. The world is wired, but with this podcast, you’ll discover how to untangle the knots, connect the dots, and create your own digital destiny.

In today’s episode, we will look into “Digital Dangers: Exploring Problematic Interactive Media Use (PIMU) and Its Troubling Effects on Adolescents.” Picture this: a 14-year-old girl sets fire to a school dormitory, which claimed the lives of 19 students. What led her to commit such a horrifying act? Well, it all started when her mobile phone was taken away by the school authorities. In another incident, a 15-year-old girl committed suicide by jumping of the building after a heated argument with her family over her addiction to mobile phones. These alarming incidents remind us of the terrifying consequences that can arise when the line between virtual and real life blurs. Imagine hours spent mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds or getting lost in the virtual realms of online games. t’s like a web that ensnares young minds and holds them captive.It’s no surprise that these digital landscapes can expose young individuals to harmful content that is completely inappropriate for their age. Violence, self-harm, explicit material—the list goes on. The impact is profound, reshaping their attitudes, behaviors, and even academic performance. A report from the Institute for Governance, Policies, and Politics reveals that a significant percentage of the younger generation spends excessive time online for non-academic purposes. It’s as if they’ve traded reallife experiences for pixelated illusions.

Unfortunately, the consequences of PIMU are not merely psychological. They seep into every aspect of a young person’s life, wreaking havoc on their mental and physical well-being. Social anxiety, depression, restlessness, and even substance abuse become haunting companions and many health issues.And do you know attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD? PIMU has a knack for intensifying its symptoms. Hyperactivity, attention–seeking behavior, and impulsivity become amplified, making it incredibly challenging for children and adolescents to control their actions and emotions. It’s like a ticking time bomb, ready to explode when their digital device privileges are revoked.

Now, it’s time to discuss the shared responsibility we all bear in protecting our vulnerable adolescents. Instead of solely blaming parents and caregivers, let’s hold technology giants accountable.

Now, what can parents do?
Parents can establish family plans that outline healthy media use behaviors like tech-free zones in your homes. Lead by example and show your children that there’s a whole world beyond the glowing screens.

This concludes today’s episode. Remember, the digital world is a powerful force, but it’s up to us to navigate it responsibly and protect the well-being of our young ones.

Additional Readings:

Guyana girls dorm fire that killed 19 was deliberately set by student, official says – The Hindu

Not allowed to use mobile phone, 15-year-old girl dies by suicide in Mumbai (msn.com)

The association of Internet addiction symptoms with impulsiveness, loneliness, novelty seeking and behavioral inhibition system among adults with attention–deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – PubMed (nih.gov)

Problematic interactive media use among children and adolescents: Addiction, compulsion, or syndrome? (apa.org)

Problematic Interactive Media Use (PIMU) – The Digital Wellness Lab


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