Child and Youth Psychiatry Specialist Assoc. Dr. Emel Sarı Gökten made an assessment in order to better understand the psychology of children during the pandemic period.
Stating that children and young people are affected by the pandemic negatively, Assoc. Dr. Emel Sarı Gökten emphasized that the restrictions brought by the pandemic could affect not only their present but also their future, as the growth and development of children and young people continues rapidly.
Anxiety about losing loved ones is the biggest burden
“First of all, it is one of the most important burdens of the pandemic to have the concern that the Covid-19 virus will make them and their loved ones sick and perhaps lose them,” Assoc. Dr. Emel Sarı Gökten continued as follows:
“Until today, many children and young people have witnessed that they and their loved ones are sick due to this virus and some of them have survived this disease very seriously, and some children and young people have lost their loved ones for this reason. Apart from illness and contagion anxiety, the closure of schools and their efforts to continue their lessons and friendships with online education forced them. Maintaining academic success with online education has reduced opportunities for effective learning. Staying away from friends interrupted their socialization process. However, when they most needed movement and release of energy, they were confined to their homes. It is not difficult to say that all these negatively affect the mental health of children and young people. “
Too many screen faces
Reminding that children who continue their online education during the pandemic period, they are in front of the screen and inactive for long periods every day. Dr. Emel Sarı Gökten warned that many children were in front of the screen for too long because they had to provide their needs for play, entertainment and movement at home.
Obsession disorder emerges
Explaining that the use of the screen for long periods of time poses a risk for some psychiatric disorders, Assoc. Dr. Emel Sarı Gökten said, “We see that tic disorders increase especially during the pandemic period. However, frequent reminders of hand hygiene and cleaning rules that should be followed to prevent the spread of the virus with the pandemic causes the onset and continuation of obsession disorder in predisposed children. In the obsession disorder seen in this period, the symptoms start and increase with the feeling of hand washing and not being cleaned, and most of the time, other obsessions are also added to this. We can say that depression and anxiety disorders increase especially in young people in the pandemic. “Overlooking and addiction to internet and computer games, which is one of the most important psychiatric problems, is another problem that worries families the most”.
Plan activities in areas of interest
Stating that increasing screen use physically immobilizes children and causes excessive weight gain, Assoc. Dr. Emel Sarı Gökten stated that spending excessive time, especially in computer games and social media, reduced children’s interest in academic fields, and led to a decrease in teaching responsibility and work.
Stating that prolonged exposure to the screen worsens the tics of children with tics, Assoc. Dr. Emel Sarı Gökten made the following recommendations: “Families should be creative about the activities they can do with their children.
They should realize the areas that their children love and are interested in and do activities such as family time together, trekking or trips together when appropriate, chatting, playing board games together. While doing these, families should choose activities that they will enjoy as well as the child’s interest. Screen restriction hours, in which every member of the family will be included, should be set and everyone should be made to comply. Artistic and relaxing activities such as sports activities, dance, music and painting that can be done at home will support both adults and children and young people to cope with difficulties and relax. “
Now is the time to spend quality time with the family
Stating that when the difficult times are over, individuals will get stronger and their coping skills will improve compared to the past, Assoc. Dr. Emel Sarı Gökten stated that seeing the Covid-19 pandemic period as an opportunity period and looking to the future with hope would be the right approach. To see this period as an opportunity period, Assoc. Dr. Emel Sarı Gökten listed her recommendations as follows:
“During this period, we can focus on issues that we overlooked or could not find time during the old daily life intensity. We can concentrate on the areas we think we are inadequate. Now, with the advancement of technology, it has become possible to follow many development areas on the internet. It would be very good to try to compensate for the activities related to arts and sports, a foreign language learning issue, the missing points in the lessons and perhaps the quality time that we need to allocate to our family but is delayed due to the intensity. Parents are not pessimistic, but always hopeful about the future and instilling this hope in their children will be good for both themselves and their children.