Published on July 5, 2021

Part of Mindemic series

AHMEDABAD: The parents of a 12-year-old child approached a city-based psychiatrist when they got worried about his well-being. The child, apart from spending about four hours on schooling, used to spend about four to five hours on social media and gaming. It had started affecting his academic performance, as the child complained that he could not remember anything taught in the class even on the same day.

While the pandemic has had its social impact, it has also left a psychological impact on all age groups, said city-based experts. They said that apart from the obvious issues arising out of being confined to home, several kids bore the brunt of bereavement due to the pandemic or had to see a family member being hospitalized.

The second wave infected more children compared to the first wave. Thus, many also experienced the isolation associated with the infection.

Dr Nehal Shah, a city-based psychiatrist, said that in several cases, the impact of the pandemic is more acute among kids. “The need of the hour is to dispel myths about the pandemic, teach the right safety practices, and ensure that the child doesn’t get alienated,” he said. “Many spent so much time with their families for the first time — that also caused some of the issues.”

Experts said that in several cases, the parents brought in kids as they would surf the internet for undesirable content on the pretext of studying.

Dr Deepti Bhatt, a city-based psychiatrist, said that while boys are a bit more in percentage compared to the girls when it comes to such cases, the girls were found to be spending more time on social media and worrying about the likes.

“With almost no other way to socialize, the teens tried to make up for it with their virtual persona,” said a city-based child psychologist.

At Government Hospital for Mental Health, experts recorded a case of violence where a 16-year-old teen beat up his parents when they did not buy a new data pack. His father had lost his job, but the teen would not hear of it. The experts counselled him.

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