#cyberbullying | #cyberbully | Caught in the net- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

BENGALURU:  As a paediatrician and adolescent specialist, Dr Anuradha HS has been suddenly noticing children as young as seven and 11 complaining of stress and anxiety. “On one hand, there’s a lot of talk about death, and, on the other, there’s paranoia. All of this is affecting children and adolescents. There are children who are gaming non-stop and wake up around noon. I am very concerned about what is happening,” she says. 

Out of concern, the senior doctor decided that the need of the hour was to connect with parents to raise these issues which have got heightened during the lockdown. Every Sunday, Anuradha does a two-hour interactive session on Demio where she picks up questions from parents and educators, conducts polls to understand issues and engage with them. “What is worrying is cyber-bullying and addiction. The pandemic hit us like a bolt from the blue and no one was prepared for these kinds of fall-outs,” she says, adding, “From statistics, we find that one in 10 kids is a victim of cyber-bullying, however, this number is grossly under reported. Instagram is a hub for this, with youngsters owning multiple and fake accounts,” she points out.  

While pre-corona times included restrictions on screen time, that is not a realistic possibility now with classes and activities going digital. “Another issue is that today’s children and teens are tech savvy but parents and educators are unable to keep pace. The issues cropping up are hard to reverse and parents need to nip them or take help early on,” she adds. 

While interactions having gone online comes with its pluses, the flip side to it is the paranoia, worry and accompanying dangers. “Earlier, there was some amount of balance especially since there were outdoor activities which acted like buffers. However, with no face-to-face interaction or socialisation now, things are getting out of hand. Schedules have gone out of sync, there’s sleep disturbance, and headaches and migraine are becoming a routine part of a youngster’s life,” she says, giving an instance of a young girl who would wash her hands over 25 times a day even though she was staying indoors and drink only warm water for fear of contracting the virus. 

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