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Swedish teen sectioned over computer addiction

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 4 May 2010, 14:43

Published: 04 May 2010 10:26 GMT+02:00
Updated: 04 May 2010 14:43 GMT+02:00

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The boy's computer habits have reached the stage where he threatens suicide if he were to be moved from his home and if a normal way of life were to be imposed upon him, the newspaper writes.

Växjö administrative court has now ruled that the boy should be sectioned under the act providing for the involuntary treatment of young people (LVU) as he had illegitimately skipped school since the spring of 2007 and there was considered to be a significant risk to his health and well-being.

The boy's parents were assigned a social worker in 2009 to support them in raising the child but they have not been able to impose limits on him and his behaviour has progressively begun to take over the family.

The social services in Olofström near Karlshamn submitted a request to the court to impose the order of involuntary care after an evaluation of the boy's situation in December 2009 showed that he had neither attended school nor shown any interest in home schooling.

The social services argued that a psychological evaluation is required to determine whether he is in the process of developing an computer addiction, or already suffers from one.

The boy's social situation has suffered as a result of his condition and the social services and the parents now fear for his health as a series of voluntary measures have been rebuffed.

The teenager concedes that his relationship with his parents has been turbulent, saying that they mostly argue about the time he spends in front of the computer, the newspaper writes.

Story continues below…

The boy however claims to be interested in his studies and has expressed a wish to complete his schooling in order to secure a place at a high school with the ambition of studying to become a computer programmer.

The Växjö court supported the social services' call for an expedient psychological evaluation in order to establish how the boy could be helped to cope with everyday life.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:29 May 4, 2010 by wabasha
a girlfriend is all he needs.
13:06 May 4, 2010 by AndreaGerak
And an adult around him who can understand him, what are his purposes and interests and support him in them.

With the Involuntary Treatment Act (Lag 1991:1128 om psykiatrisk tvångsvård), Sweden seems to commit quite some violations against fundamental human rights.
13:27 May 4, 2010 by Puffin
I'm sorry but The Local is clearly wrong in their reporting of this case

The article in Sydöstran that The Local actually site as its source states very clearly that the boy has been taken into care of the Local Authority according the the Care of Young Persons Act (LVU 1990:52) and NOT the Involuntary Treatment Act (Lag 1991:1128).

The Care of Young persons act covers all children taken into care - under this act he may be placed in specialist treatment or a foster home
13:54 May 4, 2010 by americanska
bad parenting and a healthcare system focused on doing things on the cheap. is there any support for autism in Sweden? Probably not....much like the UK.
14:07 May 4, 2010 by xenyasai
Would be amazing if they made the same effort with bullies, binge drinking teens and other kids with antisocial behaviour.
14:11 May 4, 2010 by FACTSPOLICE
Agree with Xenyasai! Another example of "Whose in control" The kids are!!! The parents should control everything about a child, who bought the computer? The parents!!!!!! Who should make the house rules...The Parents!!!!!

How sad it is, but what do you expect, most parents in this country were not reared in the right way, so how could they pass good morals, ethics, behaviors to their children! God help this society and the next generation!
14:15 May 4, 2010 by AndreaGerak
You are right Puffin, I have read that.

However, you can be sorry, because Care of Young Persons Act is nothing dissimilar: in 3 § it gives a VAST field to arbitrary interpretations (see: "some other socially destructive behavior - något annat socialt nedbrytande beteende").

Sitting by the computer all the time is neither "misuse of addictive substances - missbruk av beroendeframkallande medel", nor "criminal activity - brottslig verksamhet" - especially, if the young man says that he wants to continue his studies so that he can become a programer AND if the situation has become better!

It's a problem he has with how to communicate this to the adult world around him - and most probably with that he has no interest to learn unnecessary stuff in the school he is supposed to...

"Chronic addiction to a computer" is a huge BS, just another invented "disease" by psychiatry, in order to be able to sell more of their drugs.

"Specialist treatment" = stuff him good with Prozac & such, whatever you call them here :-(((
15:06 May 4, 2010 by pevins
There is a lot of support to treat autism in Sweden. Fully funded by the state, with compensation and a lot of guidance for the parents.

Probably not much like the UK.
15:10 May 4, 2010 by Streja
Puffin is right. There has been a translation error.
15:22 May 4, 2010 by AndreaGerak
You are right Streja, I said Puffin was right :-)

That doesn't explain such an arbitrary though.
16:47 May 4, 2010 by RoyceD
A lot of things should have been done way earlier on in the situation before it got this bad. My experience here so far seems to point to a lack of leadership from the guardians of these kids.

Plus it is hard for those of use born before the internet to imagine what the world feels like to a person born and raised with the internet available. It is a pretty significant event in human history and there will obviously be consequences and benefits as a result of this.

Hopefully this guy gets some direction so he can get some balance back in his life.
18:12 May 4, 2010 by Puffin
The Local is unfortunately producing a lot of incorrect information on this thread - first they cited the wrong Act and now they are using the emotive term "sectioned" when this action is not necessarily anything to do with mental health legislation.

The Act used to take this boy into care is the same one used to take all children into care - it has nothing to do with th mental health legislation. A friend of my daughter's is with a foster parent under this act because her father has a substance abuse problem and cannot take care of her - it's nothing to do with being sectioned

According to the reports in the Swedish press the boy has not attended school for 3 years because of this problem the school welfare worker has been involved and - a social worker has been working with the family since 2009 - but obviously nothing has improved. Obviously if the parents won't or can't enforce his schooling then the kommun has to act.
18:57 May 4, 2010 by Uncle
"he had neither attended school nor shown any interest in home schooling."

Who the hell asked him?

"Not interested? Really? Sure? OK, then here is your computer and some chips... Shout when you need something? Alrighty then!"

It is the law and he should obey. If the parents cannot enforce the law, community should have done it after 2 months of him not attending the school!

Useless parents. They should lose the custody yesterday.
19:07 May 4, 2010 by Puffin
Comment: @AndreaGeruk The boy may have been taken into care because his parents are unable to deal with the situation. The fact that he is threatening suicide rather than leave his computer suggests that he a child at risk - what will happen if the kommun does nothing?


The parents did lose custody yesterday - this is what the article is about :-)
19:51 May 4, 2010 by DAVID T
I wonder what a sixteen year old boy is looking at all day?
00:51 May 5, 2010 by NickM
@ David T The Local of course!
07:29 May 5, 2010 by silly t
Agree with FactsPolice.

Bad parental up bringing..bad child up bringing
08:47 May 5, 2010 by stenhuggaren
@Puffin. LVU is closely related to LPT and LRV and does in fact provide for "tvångsvård" while referring specifically to young people. All of these laws provide for "involuntary care" and thus the use of the English "sectioned" is correct, if slightly blunt, but then it is a headline.

There is thus nothing wrong with the explanatory sentence "sectioned under the act providing for the involuntary treatment of young people (LVU)" because the law does provide for that.

LVU is applied in a broader sense, as in your example, but it includes a scope of measures available to the authorities, including "tvångsvård" for psychological examination as in this case - clearly a mental health issue.
11:25 May 5, 2010 by AndreaGerak
@stenhuggaren: That is unfortunately true, thanks for clearing it up, looks like there are some misconceptions about this subject.

@Puffin: I'll get back to your question in a minute
12:49 May 5, 2010 by Kevin Harris
My 14 year old son eats, lives and breaths football. He plays when he can, watches when he can't, and if it was up to him, will read and talk about nothing else. During World and European Cups he goes into a three week trance and sleeps in front of the TV with the remote under his pillow. He has memorised the groups for South Africa and come August will tell you every result and goal scorer.

I tried to distract him with girls, school, cricket and motorbikes (not all at once), but to no avail. I took down his Ronaldo posters from his bedroom wall, and he replaced them with Rooney.

Should I expect the jack boots of the Swedish Social Services to kick in my front door early one morning?
14:39 May 5, 2010 by AndreaGerak
@Puffin (and anybody else who cares to read it): here are a couple of thoughts about the whole thing, it would be too long for a comment:

16:36 May 5, 2010 by curiousaboutwriting
but may I ask, what exactly does the child do with the computer? some innovation? creating some computer programming programes? developing into a computer guru or is he just an escapist buying time on it? lets find out before we jugde he could be an upcoming .........just working on yet better versions of pc's.
19:38 May 5, 2010 by Uncle
@Puffin They did not lose custody, but just temporarily said goodbye to him. A vacation of sort.

They should lose custody.
11:03 May 6, 2010 by alu
Kevin... i too have a football mad freak in my house.... we do lose contact with him too, for long periods of time under the football season, like your son he can name teams, goals, dates from yester year to present day etc etc.

no, you will not get the jack boots smashing in your door ...... :-)

The difference with my son and the 16yr old... is we as a family interact with each other, we do sit around the dinner table, eat , talk and laugh and take a great interest in each other..

no we are not perfect and yes there are many raised voices, sulky faces and yes, i as a parent make the rules... which are non negotiable.

Children don't rule the parents...

Being a parents, it's a 24hr 7 day a week job for the rest of your life... it's hard, really hard, many times close to tears hard.

Don't forget it was you who wanted a child,(ok...accidents happen too) therefore it is your duty to bring the child up to the best of your abilities, never give up and strive everyday to educate your child to become a good person.

I do hope with different surroundings and maybe another support network, this 16yr old will find a better path in life. It is just a shame it had to go so long.
11:45 May 6, 2010 by SarahRF
Parents are very effectively restrained from enforcing the law of sending their kids to school. You're not even allowed to shout at your kids, as that can be seen as verbal abuse. My 12 yr old brother came home from school one day, saying how some kid had been taken into custody by Social Services because he'd called BRIS, the child helpline, after his parents had taken his cell phone away because he'd spent over 2000kr on sms's alone, never mind downloading games/songs/videos and calls. It's ridiculous.

People complain about kids that aren't disciplined, disrespectful to people and property, and then shoot the parents when they try to control their kids.
18:32 May 22, 2010 by cattie
Why couldn't the parents just cancel the internet? I am sure the 16-year-old was not paying the billing with his online gambling winnings. The parents were really so lacking in the will to enforce? Too many images of bergmanesque disciplinarians in this country. For the sake of public health, Sveriges Television should start a nanny 911 type series to educate parents.
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