Parents are worried that children spend long hours in front of the screen during the pandemic period. What is your comment on this subject?
With the contribution of online education, children spend at least five to six hours a day in front of the screen. When the time spent in the game and on social media is added to it, these periods are even longer. In order to maintain a balance in the lives of the children, it would be good to play the board games that the whole family can participate in more often and to plan different activities that will relax the children. For screen addiction in children, first of all, parents’ behavior should be examined. Since the role models that children see first-hand are their families, parents should behave sensitively in this regard and set an example for their children.
How do we know if our child is a screen addict?
If the screen affects the social relations of the child, if there is a noticeable decrease in his / her interest in his / her environment, if his / her social activities are less than before, if he / she spends unlimited time in front of the screens, and therefore feels tired and sleepless, we can talk about screen addiction.
Being exposed to screens from an early age, the use of the screen as a distraction in children, and of course, the interesting content that screens provide us, can increase the susceptibility to screen addiction and cause future problems. Children who constantly look at the screen during the development process may weaken their ties with real life over time and may have difficulty observing real life changes. However, these people are more likely to become screen-dependent individuals in the future.
When children direct their increasing use of technology to useful activities with the pandemic, they benefit themselves when they learn different projects and new programs. However, the use of tablets, computers and play times outside of the training hours should be limited; The playing time must be a maximum of 45 minutes or one hour.
Which games should I choose?
There are applications where we can track which site or which application the children are in, but it is said that ‘it is possible to infiltrate the websites with the screen’. How can we ensure the safety of our children in the digital world?
When we leave the children alone, they can use the content they want to consume without any filter. The source of income for free services (games, applications, etc.) is usually advertisements. Kids can switch from an innocent auto racing game to zombie games by clicking an ad; He may encounter violent and fearful advertising videos. They can switch to betting sites or sexually explicit sites with one click; Therefore, we are faced with an open-ended situation. To meet your child’s play needs in a healthy way, offer them games that meet the following characteristics:
Free of violence and fear
Not setting an example for negative behavior
No online communication with other players
Used licensed if possible
Trust in the public sphere
Offered by a known (trusted) publisher
Allow them to play these and similar games for a specified period of time during the day, depending on their age. There are also very useful content for children on YouTube. Besides, there are some content that children should never watch; Therefore, it would be safer to create a certain playlist or to select the favorite videos with the ‘YouTube premium’ membership.
Parents fear that their children are not safe in the digital space. Should these concerns be explained to children? While we expect children to be honest with us, should we be honest with them? Or does it frighten children to talk about our concerns?
Let’s go item by item on what you can do about it:
Encourage your children to let you know when something or someone online is making them feel uncomfortable or threatened. If you encounter such an event, stay calm and remind your child that he should communicate his situation to you. Appreciate your child’s behavior and encourage him to come back to you in case the same thing happens again.
You make an effort and make rules to protect your children from all these real-life dangers. Likewise, you can minimize the risks of the virtual world by learning to use the internet consciously, safely and effectively and by teaching children this. In this way, you can offer your children an opportunity to contribute to education, communication and having a good time.
Always be in touch with your child. Unless you’re an authoritative parent who’s constantly waving and don’t pressure the child, he’ll share more with you. If your child feels comfortable to consult you in a situation they suspect, you will be aware of possible dangers in advance.
Tell your child the difference between dream and reality. Explain that he should not be afraid of the horrible / ugly characters that may appear in the internet environment and that he should cover the content he does not like.
Tell them that apps where they can communicate with others by voice or text are not suitable for them. Teach him that the internet is no different in normal life, just as he knows he shouldn’t talk to strangers on the street. Remind someone who somehow manages to communicate with him on the internet, he should share the situation with you without responding.
Use family filters and security software. Configure your browser’s sensitive security settings. Filter out fear, violence, obscene content. After doing this, stay in control. Stay in touch with your child and wonder what he or she is doing online. When you ask him to teach you, he can do it fondly. Because children often enjoy teaching adults.
Don’t ignore your child’s wants and needs. Instead of banning it, set a daily usage time and provide it with reliable content. Evaluate each new game you want to download. When you want to watch a video, determine which application to watch it from. Do your necessary research and provide reliable content.
Families should be told to their children that it is not correct to download any file (such as music, picture files and computer games) without their permission, and that their computers can be infected by viruses and spyware. Ask the operator that is your internet provider to activate the child and family safety package. Check out the websites your child has visited. Block websites that are not age appropriate with the help of a website blocker program.
Does the use of such technology affect the psychology of children during the pandemic period?
Spending time on the screen, tablet and computer all the time has some negative social, emotional and psychological effects. Children start to have difficulties in their peer relationships, their communication skills are weakened. The main problem of this generation, who has grown up with screens since a young age, is that they have self-confidence in human communication. They avoid social communication by talking face to face. Instead, children who always prefer screen heads lose the opportunity to learn socially. The new generation is not willing to gain experience by observing in the social environment. Screen addiction has increased immensely due to the fact that their interests and preferences are in this direction and especially due to the pandemic. Therefore, behaviors and attitudes such as insufficient self-esteem, fragile personality, anger and aggressive attitudes, and skepticism became common.
What should we do to prevent or reduce these effects?
Keep track of how much time your child spends on the internet, what sites they visit, what kind of games they play. Because negative content causes them to be more nervous and to react aggressively and to increase their fears. For this reason, constantly observe how the internet and screen use affects your child psychologically and physiologically, when they are aggressive, impulsive, careless or pessimistic, when friends and family relationships deteriorate, when they cannot calm down without a tablet or computer, when they show signs of deprivation, always put a time limit and stop excessive use. If it is difficult, get expert support.
Apart from these, spend quality time with your child in real life, outside of online lessons. Play family games at home. I especially recommend vocabulary, story games and emotional expression exercises that strengthen communication skills. Take a stroll outside the home and participate in sports / arts events. Spend quality time with your child in real life. Families who pay attention to these recommendations can protect their children against cyberbullying, strangers, internet addiction, harmful sites, sexual content, psychological and physiological ailments.