How to save a child from computer addiction, how gadgets can be useful and where to turn for help if Internet networks are dragged into a destructive community, a specialist at the Republican Clinical Psychotherapeutic Center Irina Khokh told AiF-Bashkortostan.
Part of communication
Roman Yakimchuk, AiF-Bashkortostan: Irina Rudolfovna, modern children do not part with tablets and smartphones. Is it an inevitable reality of the times or an addiction?
Irina Khokh: We are unable to resist technical progress, which has brought various devices that change our style of communication. Children also live in this reality. Good or bad - depends on the purpose of using the gadget. It's one thing if a technique helps a child find the information they need, do their homework. Another is immersion in virtual reality, a departure from reality. Sometimes adults, referring to being busy, allow the child to play electronic games indefinitely - just not to interfere. If you remove the gadget from such a chain of relationships, it turns out that the parents actually repulse the child.
But another option is possible: if the child is interesting, we share his hobbies, including those related to the Internet and games. Is it difficult to ask a son or daughter why they play this particular game, watch a specific movie, what character do they want to be like? Then the gadget will become a full-fledged part of your communication. But, when adults themselves are not setting the best example, burying themselves in a smartphone, it is foolish to require children to follow the rules.
- Some include a game or a cartoon for the kid so that he is not capricious, and the child quickly calms down. What's the secret?
- A kid up to three years old is not interested in the technique, the manipulation itself is important: he pressed his finger - a picture appeared. It seems that this is how he controls his parents, the world around him. Attention is maintained until an adult appears nearby and starts playing with him. Children under the age of six are not recommended to use a smartphone for more than 10 minutes, and games should be age appropriate so as not to traumatize the psyche. It is better to find a replacement for electronic entertainment: cards, cubes, bright pictures. The kid does not care where he sees them - on the screen or in a book. The main thing is to have mom or dad nearby.
- And how to interest teenagers?
- They should have a choice in spending their free time. It is not necessary to sit at the computer for hours if you can play on the street with friends, walk, read, play sports, etc. The more alternatives the better. Unlike adults who use gadgets mainly for work, for children this is part of reality. Therefore, in order for them to use technology rationally, restrictions are needed. Only threats and ultimatums are inadmissible. You can't say: "I didn't wash the dishes - I will turn off the Internet."
Just agree that the time of using the computer and the Internet will depend on the amount of time given in the school: the more lessons, the less time for entertainment, and vice versa. Psychologists believe that children over six years old can play computer games for up to half an hour, for adolescents - 1.5-2 hours a day. You cannot play while eating, you must stop using the gadget two hours before bed, so as not to overload the nervous system. This daily routine should become a habit. The rest of the time is better to devote to outdoor games, communication, sports. The Internet is cheaper than the sports section, but by saving on the teenager's leisure time, we will harm his health.
Into the world of illusions
- What is the harm to health?
- During a computer game, the child is in a tense position, the internal organs, the spine are compressed, which is dangerous during the growth of the body. A bright picture affects the condition of the eyes. Psychological dependence is developed: if you play, your mood seems to have improved. The computer becomes a means of solving difficult life situations without analyzing them, thinking through them. The attention of parents is important here, they should be interested in what is happening at school, how relationships with friends are developing. If adults are indifferent, the child will look for a way out in virtual reality.
- If you don't buy a gadget for your child, then addiction is not terrible either …
- The ban will only increase interest. You can play with friends, but without parental control. It is better to allow, but dosed, to be interested in which sites the child visits, what he plays. It is impossible to forbid development. In addition, the school gives assignments that require searching for information on the network.
Computer games can also be beneficial if they are age appropriate. Puzzles, for example, improve memory and focus. While playing, the child chooses a role for himself - a hero with specific qualities, forms his identity. Parents can ask what he likes about this hero, without offending or humiliating the child. So we form the basis for completing his personal qualities.
- And "shooters" will not provoke aggressive behavior?
- They increase aggressiveness for a very short time while the child is playing. Much more important is the example of authoritative adults. Children perceive aggression from the family, looking at the behavior of their elders, in response to cruel punishment on their part. It happens that parents themselves encourage this behavior, saying, for example: “What are you, not a kid? Give me back!"
Specialist will help
- What if the gambling addiction has already formed?
- In this case, it is worth working with a medical psychologist and psychotherapist - there is no need to be afraid of this - a specialist knows how to get rid of a bad habit. The sooner parents seek help, the better. Craving for gadgets is not a whim, it turns out that they, like any addiction object, replace something in a child. If in the family he feels needed and valuable, he will not have to immerse himself in virtual. When he is not protected at home, he is looking for refuge on the Internet, it seems that there you can rule over everything: name yourself whatever you like, insult others.
- Some parents fear that the Internet, more precisely, individual sites and groups, can drive a child to suicide. Is this a legitimate fear?
- In 2015-2016, there was a lot of talk about the so-called “death groups”. Fortunately, the fashion for them has passed, however, there are other destructive directions: columbiners, satanists, criminal communities. Teenagers run the risk of being drawn in there, because they have reduced critical thinking. However, in recent years, the number of child suicides in Bashkiria has been declining. Perhaps this is due to the tightening of criminal punishment for driving to suicide, attention to social networks of law enforcement agencies, teachers. This created an overall control situation that bore fruit. Specialists are always ready to help children and their parents in difficult situations. It is enough to call the 24-hour helplines: 8-800-2000-122 (for children only) and 8-800-7000-183 (for adults and children). We have about 150 calls per week: they ask for advice on various difficult situations, address conflicts, violence.
- Recently it was reported that teenage girls climbed a 50-meter tower to take selfies and post on social networks. There are many such examples, including those with a tragic outcome. What are the origins of this dangerous behavior?
- Adolescents have an immature attitude towards danger and death. If, having done a risky trick once, for example, jumping from a roof to the cheers of his classmates, the child remains unharmed, he has the illusion of victory over fear.Studies show that blurring the boundaries between the real and the virtual world, adolescents do not realize that such behavior can lead to injury, disability and even death. They do not understand that all this can happen to them, and not to someone else.
- Each person and situation is individual, but is there a universal recipe for building optimal relationships with children?
- Polish teacher Janusz Korczak wrote: "A child is a holiday that is still with you." The main thing is not to miss that short period of time while children remain children. You need to understand and accept the child as an independent person: he should not please adults and behave the way they want. Parents should leave selfishness and devote as much time to the child as necessary, while he needs them, to share his interests, to form traditions, for example, to gather together for evening tea, to ask each other how the day went. Where it is, the family will go through all the difficulties together.