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January 28, 2022 10:30 pm

As YouTube Became New Lollipop, Kashmiri Kids Staring at Shadowy Screens

By Jahanuma Tahir

WITH children back to screen-driven routine following the third consecutive year of Covid lockdown in Kashmir, experts have warned that the desperate measure for the desperate time might eventually make the lockdown-ridden kids delusional.

“The screen study and time-out has a lot of merits, but it’s not a substitute for the real world,” says Dr. Arshad Hussain, Kashmir’s noted mental healthcare specialist.

“It might’ve helped us in this survival period but it’s not a replacement for the genuine world because of various reasons.”

Since social media has become a prominent part of children’s lives, he says, the excessive online use can exacerbate their feeling of mental health symptoms like anxiety, isolation and stress.

This is where, the psychiatrist says, parents have a duty to protect their children from negative health consequences of this platform.

In a concise conversation with Kashmir Observer, Dr. Arshad talks about how social media is overall shadowing and shaping lives and learning abilities of the children of Kashmir.

Dr. Arshad Hussain

Dr. Arshad, as Youtube has become a new lollipop and social media a new campus for Kashmiri kids, how’s it affecting their overall leisurely and learning engagement?

It’s true that social media has become a prominent part of children’s lives, but instead of the real world, they live in a virtual world and think it’s real.

Sometimes they get so obsessed with social media that their emotions might get dependent on it. The problem is that they don’t understand the difference between the real and the virtual world and spend more time online.

The increase of online presence can exacerbate their feeling of mental health symptoms like anxiety, isolation and stress.

And then the same platform remains plagued with inappropriate content, like mean, aggressive, violent or sexual comments or images. How’s that playing out for children?

No doubt, there’re many dangers that come with the use of social media. This is where, I think, parents need to use parental controls until they know that their child is mature enough to manage their own accounts.

Parents have to lead by an example. When your kid comes to talk with you at the end of the day, put the phone down and listen. Modeling this good behavior is critical.

But parents are instead feeding YouTube cartoons to their children as lullabies now. Is it desirable?

See, there’s no denial that social media plays a dominant role in our day to day life, but the only concern is that it can make children addicted to the internet.

But parents can attain knowledge of their child’s activities through monitoring behavior such as information-seeking, surveillance and making sure your kid is still getting enough physical activity and face-to-face interactions.

But then many would argue that children of Kashmir don’t have much choice. What could be the possible way out for them?

The problem is, we as parents are not balancing their virtual world with the real world particularly from the last two year, resulting in them using it excessively.

Here, parents have a duty to protect their children from negative health consequences of this platform.

We should spend more time with our children, to be connected with them. We must take proper care of their mindset and emotions. We need to analyze and work on their better routines. This will help us to manage their schedule better.

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