By Renuka Dhakal
Kathmandu, June 16: The craze for animated cartoons among children has increased during the restriction order imposed to control COVID-19.
After schools switched to online teaching and learning activities, children have plenty of time at home. They cannot go out for physical games and spend most of their time watching animated cartoons or playing video games on TV or smart phones.
Mamata Dahal of Kathmandu said that her 5-year-old daughter spends more than five hours a day watching cartoons on TV.
She said that her daughter loves to watch “Peppa Pig”, “Diana and Roma”, “Curious George” and many other programmes on YouTube and TV.
“I know letting kids watch TV and mobile phones for a long time is harmful, but we have no option, we can’t play with them all day and we cannot allow them to go out,” she added.
Manjari Gautam of Kathmandu has similar tale to share. Her three-and-a-half-years-old daughter spends many hours watching various cartoons on TV.
Gautam feared whether her daughter would become addicted to it, which would later affect her physical and mental health.
“As soon as she wakes up, she insists on watching cartoons on TV or mobile phones, she has already developed a habit of eating foods only after watching cartoons,” Gautam said.
“I am desperately waiting for an end to the current situation so that schools will reopen and we can send our kids to school.”
Prakash Dhital from Bhaktapur is also facing a similar problem. He said that his 10-year-old son either watches cartoons or plays games on mobile throughout the day.
Apart from online class time, children have free time and they have no alternative to watching TV, he added.
Dhital said they could not get their children out, and they cannot engage children in additional activities as they are also busy with professional duties and have no time to engage their children in extra activities at home.
Thus, parents have no choice but to allow their children to watch TV or play video-games, Dhital added.
According to Dr. Arun Raj Kunwar, Child Psychiatrist, Kanti Children’s Hospital, prolonged exposure to TV and mobile phones results in reduced focus and concentration. The children spending more time to watch cartoons are more likely to develop social fears, leading to anxiety, panic and depression.
He urged parents to limit their children’s time to watch TV and play video games to one to two hours a day. Parents should motivate their kids to physical games, cognitive games, yoga, exercises, gardening and other household activities.
Since the introduction of TVs and mobile phones, various studies have shown that the violence rate among children has decreased because children spend more time on those technologies and they show less physical and emotional response, which is the only benefit the children have derived from TV and mobile phone exposure, said Dr. Kunwar.
–The Rising Nepal