There has been a great deal of media response to the difficulties children are experiencing due the insolation they endured during COVID. Mental health experts are describing the depression, anxiety, and anger children are now displaying. The experts are revealing the human need we all have for contact with others. This is especially true of children who are beginning to develop social skills.
Parents of school age children certainly understand the excitement children have to be close to their friends. Parents recognize the importance of friendship with peers. Even toddlers gravitate to other children. Recently, I was playing with a 10-month-old baby who was preoccupied just watching other children at play. Being included in a group is a natural and healthy part of development. Observe children on a playground, they are quick to make friends. They are quick to learn social skills, such as, taking turns, and including others. Laughter and smiles prevail.
The importance of human contact cannot be understated.
The Big Disconnect
While we all recognize the detrimental effects of isolation and children, we fail to recognize the isolation occurring before our very eyes everyday. Children spend countless hours online every day isolated from the personal contact with friends.
Research is finding children are spending more and more time on social media and playing video games. They are connected to virtual people, while neglecting face-to-face contact with real people. The addiction to the internet is drawing children into a vacuum of isolation. This attraction leads to countless wasted hours.
The realities to mental health during COVID is replicated when children are online for long periods of time. While parents may believe children are completing school work or assignments, studies show they are constantly interrupted by emails, texts, and social media. While mental health issues may not present themselves immediately, the chances of future issues have been found to exist.
Encourage children to spend time disconnected from the internet and connected to real life. God has created a beautiful world full of his beauty and grace. It’s time to experience it.
Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks he is wise in the age, let him become a fool so that he can become wise. I Corinthians 3:18 (CSB)