Cyprus International University (CIU) Psychological Counseling and Guidance Center Expert Psychologist Huriye Koruşan stated that the decision for social isolation was made in order to reduce and thus control the spread of COVID-19, however during this process children and adolescents have experienced being away from their friends, have been unable to participate in art and sporting activities, and have been forced to learn via distanced education, resulting in them meeting their entertainment and socializing needs via television, social media and telephone, with an increase in internet use observed.
Koruşan stated that within the studies performed, it has been determined that during the pandemic, individuals turned to the internet in an effort to avoid the psychological and social problems they experienced within their daily lives and to also feel safe, and that this situation may have led to them spending longer periods on the internet and losing their control over it at the same time.
Providing an example from another study, Koruşan also stated that there has been an increase in internet usage observed due to individuals' inability to establish healthy relationships in addition to social and psychological problems, due to insufficient social skills and lack of support mechanism problem.
Specialist Psychologist Koruşan pointed out that over time, the pathological use of internet increases loneliness, affects sleep quality, and can lead to emotional disturbances such as anxiety and depression, while also pointing out the importance of being aware that unconscious and uncontrolled internet use is a harmful habit.
A comfortable space for the support of positive emotions should be created for adolescents.
Stating that within weekly routines established, the time allocated for smart phones, computer, television or video games should be regulated, Koruşan went on to advise, “it is important to create a comfortable space where we stay away from phones, television and the social media during certain hours of the day, a space where parents are included and there will be an increase in family communication, where parents can recognize the different emotions in their children and adolescents, where they can express themselves and ask questions, where there is a support of positive emotions”.
Informing that the internet should be used consciously, Koruşan advised that adolescents should especially be informed about time management.
Advising that the family should all be involved in physical activities, by starting with simple short-term exercises that are to be increased over time, Koruşan suggested diversifying the activities that can be done as a family and are independent of technology.
Specialist Koruşan pointed out that families can also provide alternative activities to their adolescents, such as listening to music, painting, gardening, and riding a bike, and also pointed out the benefits of learning breathing exercises to reduce tension and in order to protect mental and physical health.
News Date: February 19, 2021