How modern parenting can help children cope with undefined vacation amid COVID-19 pandemic

Parents must take parenting to a new level and think out-of-the box to help their children.

The multifaceted effect of COVID-19 is felt everywhere and by everyone, young and old alike. In this harsh and never-before COVID situation, children are having a hard time spending their undefined-indefinite vacation.

During the early period of lockdown, children were having a great time, thinking that they no longer had to go to schools, do home-works, prepare for tests, or learn their lessons every day. But now, the undefined vacation has started to wean these little children, mentally and physically.

With the number of COVID positive cases and COVID-related deaths increasing in Manipur, children are no longer allowed to move outside their homes, to go out in the open playground and play with their friends.

What the children had perceived to be a long vacation is now turning out to be some sort of imprisonment, with restrictions imposed by their parents to protect themselves from this deadly COVID-19. So, parents are now finding it hard to make their children stay indoors.

For people residing in rural areas, the restriction is not that watertight. However, in Imphal and other small town areas, parents are facing issues in tackling this situation. With no other alternative, children are made to watch TVs, play with mobiles, because these days, most children do not prefer playing with toys like dolls or of that sort.

Now, a new form of addiction is taking hold of children during this period of lockdown – SPA, Smart Phone Addiction.

Many schools are now taking recourse to online classes so that the academic calendar is not disturbed. So small children who are in primary school stage are also being exposed to the use of mobile phones; and though this exposure is healthy, we cannot deny the fact that there are unhealthy effects as well.

Parents cannot constantly monitor their children and keep a track on the use of smart phones, as they are also engaged in other household chores. So, children are being exposed to the negative effects of the use of smart phones. They can now surf the internet and this can lead to their exposure to illicit contents on the internet as well; and it is beyond doubt that such an exposure can twist the young minds.

As per a UNICEF report, over 1,50,000,000 children and young people have been affected worldwide due to school closures and with online courses or classes becoming the only solution of providing education at this trying time, the rate of exposure of children to internet has increased to 70-80 per cent. One consequence of this can be that children in the near future will become virtually more active but they are likely to become physically less active in the real world.

It is well known that continued exposure to electronic gadgets like computers, tablets, mobile phones, etc affect our eyes and can cause harm beyond imagination, but leaving this health concern aside for a while, let us concentrate on the other mental effects that these electronic gadgets produce on the young minds.

As people all over the world are busy fighting this deadly Coronavirus, they have not taken notice of how these young children are coping themselves in this hour of pandemic. We should not forget, and especially parents should not forget that children are in a tender stage and their minds are very fragile and susceptible to contagious elements of today’s modern society (immediate reference being made here is that of the usage of internet).

So, it would be a healthy exercise if parents and other members of the family, after having done all their household chores and after having made their children do their online tasks/assignments, initiate and make their children participate in face-to-face interaction with one another, tell them stories, play indoor games like carom, and try sharing their thoughts, listen to what and how they feel during this lockdown, besides keeping a check on how and with whom their children are communicating online, what contents they are browsing on the internet and limit the time period of use of such other electronic gadgets/devices.

If it is not done in an urgent manner, the day will not be far where we will see our young children become obsessed with smart phones and other electronic gadgets that they will not consider us their parents, friends and well-wishers, instead they will take recourse to the virtual world where their minds would have become so twisted that we would not be able to bring back our young children to normalcy and we would be required to confront with a new high-tech world disease – CODE (Children Overdosed with Digital Equipment), after the end of this war against Corona.

So, parents must take parenting to a new level and think out-of-the box with ways and means of modern parenting in this COVID-19 days.

First Published:Aug. 10, 2020, 7:17 p.m.