By Manjima Dhakal
Kathmandu, May 12 :Parents have been facing a hard time parenting their wards as their schools and other activities have come to a grinding halt amid the prohibitory order that went into effect some two weeks ago. Since then, as the schools and playgrounds have remained off-limits, kids have been growing increasingly restless and fidgety.
Most guardians have no option but to offer their mobile phones to their children in an attempt to engage them for a while. That has led to growing mobile phone addiction among many kids – something that is poised to have detrimental impacts on them.
Nowadays, great many children across the country are seen busy fiddling with mobile phones most of the times. Doctors and child psychologists say such addiction doesn’t bode well for the wellbeing of the children and that many children these days are facing long-term mental and physical problems because of the addiction. However, the guardians seem helpless in weaning them off it.
Dr. Minakshi Dahal, a child education expert, said parents are choosing easy ways by exhorting them to follow their habit and that they are shying away from their responsibility of creating child-friendly environment where they can have meaningful conversations with their children.
She added that children naturally distain their guardians’ behaviour of imposing their habit on them.
Agreeing with Dahal, Senior Psychologist Dr. Rabi Shakya said that Nepali parents are encouraging their kids to use mobile phones knowingly or unknowingly. “These days parents rely on mobile phone excessively in a bid to make their children stop crying or growing restless. They even use videos to feed their children, and this practice does more harm than good to them.”
Dr. Shakya, also a psychologist at Patan Hospital in Lalitpur district, has seen many children losing their vision, experiencing back pain, difficulty in digesting food and suffering hand pain because of excessive use of mobile phone and other gadgets.
“Since they distract the children’s attention a lot, they also lose the capacity not only to focus but also render them unable to interact with others. Some children even turn aggressive right from their childhood because of gadget addiction,” Dr Shakya added.
So, what could be the alternative to gadgets?
Experts suggested various ways of making children engaged in a balanced manner .
“The primary onus is on guardians to mend their ways so that they don’t transmit their habit to their children, Dr. Shakya said, adding, “Parents have to be a role model for their children because
they begin learning things by imitating seniors and it is their parents whose habits they imitate first.”
Dr. Dahal said that children can’t adopt good habits themselves without good parenting, and suggested creating a daily routine that makes the kids feel at ease. “The routine can include a schedule for waking up, eating, and learning activities and doing funny things. Activities done together at home by both parents and children like playing, cooking, exercising, making plans, watching movies or any other things which keep them engaged and happy can go a long way to shaping a child’s outlook in a good way.”
Dr. Shakya stressed that children should participate in extra-curricular activities and that parents should teach them life-skills right from their early years.
“The key is that both parents and their wards should feel contented,” Dr. Dhaal said.
–The Rising Nepal