Coronavirus affecting children's mental health

10 May, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Coronavirus affecting children's mental health

Some young people are happy to stay at home. But mental health professionals claim that even young kids who don't like to attend school are being affected by prolonged home stay like prisoners due to the deadly corona crisis. The struggle of those who are always eager to attend school cannot be expressed in words. They are now at home like caged animals. Gradually it is becoming traumatic for them. Some children are also dealing with more serious traumas related to Covid-19, such as the sicknesses of family members, or relatives experiencing job loss making it harder for them. For those kids facing personal tragedies, there is a greater risk of being affected by lasting mental health effects. Gradually they are becoming speechless.

Children are observing that all the time their parents are passing time anxiously or watching TV news update of Corona. The elders have the capability to absorb pain and agony, so they are better able to manage their mental stress. But children cannot do this. Most children are still grappling with their own normal changes. Their present locked down situation is giving them much pain which they feel but cannot express in words.

The universal stay at home across the world meant a necessary retreat into technology. There's no prom or graduation, no one is attending field games, no one is loitering under the open sky; they are not even in touch with their teachers. Friends are always a screen away even as alert about Covid-19 flood TV or pop up on line. The World Health Organisation, which has in the past warned against "gaming disorders" is actively encouraging people to play video games now.

Actually, the whole world is passing a miserable crisis period. Every day we hear of people dying. We are locked inside our houses. Our innocent restless children are turning staid. They are detached from school, peers, social activities, and their heart - the playground. They have been stuck with Corona and all their emotions at a danger point.

In this situation children need mental and psychological food. Social behaviour and mental functioning of humans are explained in different ways by different scholars. Exploring the neurological and physiological process some of them mentioned (Damon & Lerner, 2006) emotion, cognition, perception, motivation, attention, brain functioning and personality may be affected by any sudden change. Child psychology is not much different from this. The development of children physically, mentally and emotionally needs the help of parents and teachers to identify helpful informations involving challenges in child behaviour (Damon & Lerner, 2006).

From early to mid-puberty parents influence is very important for children’s psycho-social development. But at the same time, in this period a child needs to experience relationship with peers, teachers and schooling. To overcome trauma during Covid-19, schools need to open in such a way that, at least, they can get enjoy lively time with peers. In this crisis period, when children are being traumatised, opening a number of online social activity centre is needed. We can open online schooling, interactive meet, to help children get back golden days when there was no Corona panic. A well-developed online course, just like a traditional course, can open up new world of learning for students. In Bangladesh, some prominent schools opened online schooling. Though not all the children are in touch, but a number of students are getting at least some flavour of their school learning.

 

Sudipta Ghosh, Poet, Writer and

English language teacher

Daffodil International School, Dhaka

 


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