It was stated that the onset of the pandemic and the measures taken to reduce the spread of the disease caused great changes in the lives of children. It has been announced that these changes have very important effects on the psychology of children, and they have begun to be revealed by many scientific studies. Reminding that children stay away from their schools for a long time due to Kovid-19 restrictions, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Specialist Dr. Hozan Saatçıoğlu said that this situation also makes it difficult for children to adapt to the pandemic process.
INCREASE IN HOUSE TENSION TRIGGERED DEPRESSION
Emphasizing that staying away from children’s schools negatively affects them physically, socially and psychologically, Uzm. Dr. Hozan Saatçıoğlu stated that during this period, the parent-child relationship also deteriorated. Stating that children’s inability to access education and the increase in stress levels due to the pandemic cause parents to feel more pressure in their relations with children, Uzm. Dr. Hozan Saatçıoğlu said, “Studies have shown that children’s depression and anxiety levels increase with the deterioration of this relationship, the increase in domestic tension and the change in the life cycle.”
EDUCATIONAL LIVES MUST CONTINUE EVEN ONLINE
exp. Dr. Hozan Saatçıoğlu said, “It is stated that the reasons such as not being able to socialize with their friends at school, not being able to benefit from guidance units, not being able to take teachers as role models, in addition to the fact that children fall behind in education, cause an increase in students’ mental problems. For this reason, we recommend continuing online (distance) education during the period when face-to-face education cannot be continued. While it is stated that online education has positive effects on children’s psychology, the importance of overcoming the difficulties experienced in children’s access to online education and ensuring children’s participation in classes has come to the fore.
CLEANING OBSERVATIONS ARE COMING FREQUENTLY
Pointing out that the studies carried out after the pandemic process show that children experience emotional difficulties, Uzm. Dr. Hozan Saatçıoğlu stated that during this period, anxiety disorders, depression and stress-related disorders are more common in children and adolescents.
Adding that it is shown that children’s anxiety levels increase when good communication with children is not provided and information about the pandemic is not provided, Uzm. Dr. Hozan Saatcioglu said:
“With the increase in the disease and mortality rates, the uncertainty of the course and the fact that they do not know when they will return to school stand out as other factors that increase the anxiety levels of children. Along with the increase in anxiety and stress in children and adolescents, obsessions about cleanliness also increased in this period. Washing hands too often, staying in the bathroom for too long, asking parents about being sick all the time, are very common in children and adolescents. Sleep disorders such as difficulty falling asleep and waking up frequently are also common in children who cannot get rid of these obsessions.
ATTENTION TO THE INTERNET USE TIME
Adding that it has been shown in many studies that the duration of internet use in children and adolescents increased and internet addiction developed during the pandemic period, Uzm. Dr. Hozan Saatçıoğlu said, “Internet addiction develops when computer use exceeds 5 hours a day due to internet and games. This situation has a very negative impact on the mental and physical development of children and adolescents. For this reason, it is recommended that children and adolescents organize their educational activities and the internet time they use outside of it, and make day-to-day planning for this.”
In addition, Saatçıoğlu pointed out that excessively active and impulsive children have an increase in boredom, irritability and anger control problems at home due to not being able to go to school or participate in any activity. Stating that studies have shown an increase in behavioral problems and domestic accidents, Uzm. Dr. Saatçıoğlu said, “Especially hyperactive children do not want to attend online classes because they get bored very quickly and cannot focus. This causes them to completely disconnect from their education life. Families need to be very sensitive about this issue,” he said.
THE ENVIRONMENT MUST BE PREPARED FOR A GOOD SUMMER
Stating that the pandemic period reveals both mental health problems and adaptation skills in children, Uzm. Dr. Hozan Saatçıoğlu said that it is important to increase initiatives that will support adaptation skills.
Emphasizing that it is very important to support parents, ensure that children attend school as much as possible, create environments where they can spend their time physically, socially and spiritually during the summer period, and ensure that their relationships with parents are strengthened, it is very important to ensure that they spend quality time. Dr. Hozan Saatçıoğlu said, “Informing the children about the course of the pandemic, the measures taken, how the education will continue, and the fact that the parents are open to communication with their children in these respects reduce the anxiety of the children. It is necessary to complete the online education infrastructure in the upcoming education periods, and to take the necessary steps and encourage all children and adolescents to participate in it. Spiritual support systems that parents can reach and information and social support resources for distance education should be created.
CHILDREN SHOULD GIVE MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT RELATED TO THE PANDEMIC
Stating that mental health units should be established where children and adolescents can receive psychological support, he made the following suggestions to overcome the psychological problems that may be experienced in this period:
“Precautions should be taken as soon as possible to ensure that children return to school and to prioritize education. Distance education should be renewed in a way that everyone can access and with the use of printed learning materials in a compatible way. Access to guidance service, psychosocial support and mental health units should be facilitated during distance education. Parents should be supported in continuing education at home and social and psychological support systems should be established to increase their interaction and play with children. A plan should be created and arrangements should be made for the internet that children and adolescents use outside of educational activities. Internet should not be used for more than two hours a day on average.”