Net addiction can lead to drug abuse

Excessive use of the Internet and social networking sites increases the risks of addiction and drug abuse among people, especially teenagers, Saeed Faleel Al-Sriaha, director of studies and information at the National Committee for Narcotics Control, said here Saturday.

Al-Sriaha noted that hyper-networking has been associated with depression, substance abuse, poor sleep patterns, suicide and poor academic performance. He suggested reverting to traditional means of community interaction to keep the youth from the threats of addiction and behavioral diversions. Al-Sriaha made these statements during the closing ceremony of the ‘Riyadh Initiative against Substance Abuse’ (RISA) organized by the Subair Kunju Foundation. Abdul Azeez, RISA convener, chaired the function.

The director cautioned individuals, especially students, to be mindful of the adverse impact of excessive use of the Internet and advised the attendees to use social media sites “moderately and wisely.”

Al-Sriaha’s advise comes at a time when studies show that an increasing number of people of various ages are taking to social networking sites in the Kingdom.

Twitter’s growth among Saudi Internet users is the highest in the world, according to a recently published study. The survey also showed a remarkable jump in the use of mobile phones to access various social media accounts. The report highlighted that the number of Saudi Facebook users increased from 6 million in 2012 to 7.8 million in 2013, with 5 million accessing their accounts from mobile devices.

Meanwhile, the number of Twitter users increased from 3 to 5 million, representing a 45 percent growth rate, during the same period. Tweets from the Kingdom averaged 150 million a month, with 85 percent of them in Arabic and religious figures accounting for the highest number of followers.

Certificates of honor and gifts were presented to the organizations associated with RISA activities. Senior journalist Mir Mohsin Ali, Sayeed Mohiuddin and Javed were among those honored during the ceremony. A panel of speakers included M.K. Abdul Sather, Haneef, Abdul Rasheed, Mohammed Ashraf Alia and Abdul Salam.

Padmini U. Nair of the International Indian School in Riyadh (IISR) delivered a speech introducing the attendees to Subair Kunju Foundation’s activities, while the event convener Abdul Rasheed delivered the vote of thanks.

Al-Sriaha also inaugurated the extension of RISA activities in other Middle East countries including Oman and the UAE. Al Abeer Group of Hospitals organized a free medical camp on the occasion.





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