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Children are hidden victims of pandemic: Experts

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Baramulla: Aarifeen School of Excellence Baramulla in collaboration with child guidance and wellbeing centre institute of mental health and neurosciences Kashmir organised a webinar on the theme “Psychosocial issues among children and Responsive Parenting during COVID-19”.

On the occasion, Adil Wadoo Programme Coordinator Child Guidance & Well-being Center Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences, Srinagar briefed the audience about impact of covid-19 on the mental health of children, psychosocial wellbeing of children and adolescents, common psychological disorders among children and responsive parenting.

“Children are hidden victims of this pandemic and are highly vulnerable than adults as adults have access to authentic news and information, and can de-stress themselves by spending time on social media, talking with friends, watching movies; children lack these privileges,” Adil said while addressing the parents of Aarifeen School of Excellence in the webinar.

He said that due to the prevailing circumstances, children are confined to homes and left with least outdoor play activities as places of recreation are shut due to lockdown.

“Smartphones and social media have become the only source of recreational activity and educational tools in times of lockdown. Parents have to monitor and filter the content their children are exposed to on such platforms. Positive reinforcement and healthy emotional interaction and conversations among family members are the need of the hour,” Adil added.

Wadoo said that the general complaints from parents received during the second wave of COVID-19 were identified as anxiety, stress, aggressive behaviour, increased screen time, depressive signs, sleep disturbance, fear for the situation among children.

“Children should be allowed to socialise with their friends through online forums under adult supervision. The parents/guardians should monitor their behaviour and seek professional help with experts whenever and wherever required.”

During this pandemic, the role of parents/caregivers should be to provide such an environment to children where they can grow and develop their full potential, where they can have fun, be safe and healthy, can freely express their thoughts and feelings, and are listened to, can ask any questions and are answered honestly.

“Discussions with children regarding the pandemic maybe very difficult and challenging, but having conversations is important. Maintaining a regular routine, keeping children at home, communicating with children regarding COVID-19, making yourself available, Providing reliable information, Limiting exposure to TV and Social Media Limiting exposure to TV and Social Media can help to reduce the anxiety among children,” the resource person added.

A question-answer session was held at the end of the webinar, wherein the audience posed several questions to the resource person.

Coordinator Aarifeen School of Excellence, Sandra Mak, thanked the guest speaker for the informative session and parents for participating in the webinar and assured that such programs will be held in near future.

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