Mental Health of Children in Digital Age

What is not possible in today’s digital world? Studying, working, travelling, shopping, grocery purchasing, finding a house, entertainment and the list just doesn’t end. It takes one simple touch on your screen to get all that you want. It’s not a surprise to have digital parties, meetups with friends. We all have very conveniently become a part of this world where most of us may start our day with checking out for notifications before doing anything else. From grandparents to parents and parents to children, billions of people consume a variety of media and unknowingly spend hours together scrolling through their phone.

Another reason that can be concerning to child’s mental health is the nature of the content. Children and youngsters tend to get influenced easily purely on the basis of what they see and observe. Digital space is too vast for children to explore. Internet is hardly filtered which makes it very easy for children to access almost anything in the world. They may come across content that might not be meant for their age and engage in behaviour that is quite maladaptive.

The ‘Effect’:

But isn’t too much of anything bad? How does this really affect children and adolescents? Studies suggest that spending more than 4 hours online leads to feeling of anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. High dependence on the internet has concerned teachers, parents and youngsters themselves. Adding to the screen addiction, video gaming culture has also made children so engrossed in winning virtual competitions that it also comes with side effects of higher aggression, violence and impulsivity.

Spending plenty of time-consuming digital media can itself make it very exhausting for children, stopping them from being motivated and energetic. With the high number of digital media comes less amount of physical activity. Children who prefer sitting and watching cartoons, playing games, or simply passing time on the phone don’t tend to engage in physical sports, exercises or playing actual games with friends/family. The lack of exercise in daily routine could lead to repercussions that leads to stunted growth and intervenes with overall development. Not just this, but they become isolated and tend to withdraw from friends and family which makes them quite distant from them.

Social media is full of self-portrayal that unconsciously makes a child compare himself time and again with other peers, influencers, celebrities etc. This hinders the self esteem of young buds and affects their self-confidence. There are stereotypical and conventional messages put in front of the eyes of the viewers time and again on how one should look, dress, speak etc. Many children do get the urge to have a presentable social image and put up with these typical trends. When unable to do so or failing to match with the crowd, children do develop inferiority complexes and poor self-image.

How to strike a balance?

Adding to the ongoing trend, the after-effects of the pandemic has caused children to spend more time in front of the screen. With schools and classes becoming online, the screen time has increased be in any age group. While we understand the need to upgrade ourselves with the fast growing technological advancement, it is also important that as parents one must strike a balance and inculcate habits of self-care in our children. One could adopt the following methods:

  1. Restrict the screen time  (be it television watching, phone or computer usage);
  2. Encourage to watch educative content (relevant to ongoing studies, news bulletin etc.);  
  3. Get involved and be a part of extra-curricular activities (play a board game with them or take your kids to a park).

While technological advancement is important, but a need for a balance is must. While digital media offers vast array of knowledge at a click, the over access could also cause poor sleeping patterns, lack of attention, irritable mood, low self-esteem, confidence and poor eyesight can become really draining. All these factors could affect the children’s mental health and growth.

How could TalktoAngel help?

In the tech-savy world, TalktoAngel stands providing the best online therapy for various areas of concern. Its team of top psychologists are trained, certified and experienced to deliver online counselling services to deal with issues such as addiction to social media. One could approach TalktoAngel at the comfort of their home and avail affordable online counselling for their kids in a confidential manner.

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