Experts who said not to worry about pandemic screen time regret their former advice.
During the long months of lockdowns and shuttered schools, many parents overlooked the vastly increasing time their kids are spending on video games and social media. Now, children who used to focus his free time in cycling or playing outdoor games, devotes nearly all of their leisure hours – about 40 a week – to Xbox/ playstation and their phones.
Nearly a year into coronavirus pandemic, parents across the world are watching their children slide down an increasingly slippery path into an- consuming digital life. When the outbreak hit, many parents relaxed restrictions on screen as a stopgap way to keep frustrated, restless children entertained and engaged. But, often, remaining limits have vaporized as computers, tablets and phones became the centerpiece of school and social life, and weeks of staying home bled into nearly a year.
The situation is alarming for parents and scientists too. There will be a period of epic withdrawal. It will require young people to “sustain attention in normal interactions without getting a reward hit every few seconds.
Scientists say the children’s brains, well through adolescence, are considered “plastic”, meaning they can adapt and shift to changing circumstances. That could help younger people again find satisfaction in an offline world but it becomes harder the longer they immerse in rapid – fire digital stimulation. “The longer they ‘ve been doing a habituated behaviour, the harder it’ s going to be to break the habit.
Parents are also feeling helpless, they have their own deadlines for office work, husband – wife relationship is also stressed as both are at home all the time, no time out with friends and colleagues. Parents sometimes feel guilty to restrict the child, as it only way for him/ her to socialize with friends.
No solution visible in near future, keeping children busy in creative activities or playing indoor games like Hopscotch, Sardines, I spy can be few options parents can adopt during pandemic times.