A Turkish expert has warned that children, who are not able to spend time with their peers due to curfew imposed on them to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, may get more aggressive and unhappier as the duration of social isolation gets longer.
The curfew, which took effect on April 4 to restrict members of the public under age 20 from leaving their homes except if absolutely necessary, has mostly affected the kids at the play age.
Warning the parents of the changes in their children’s psychological state, Mehmet Teber, a clinical psychologist and pedagogue, said that communication with their peers is a basic need for them just like drinking water and eating.
Teber said that human, as a social being, needs to communicate with others and even though loneliness feels good at the beginning, it will be harmful to one’s psychology with passing time.
He highlighted that although the kids are spending time with their parents, this does not meet their needs fully.
“Just like how we cannot socialize when we spend time with our mothers and fathers, it is the same for the children as well,” Teber said, adding that kids need peer relationships and they enjoy it more when they play with their friends.
“Now the fun in their life is lacking,” he said.
Teber stated that he started to hear from the families the impacts of the curfew, as almost 20 days have passed since the decision.
“They complain that their children are more aggressive, more peevish, and unhappier.”
Teber highlighted the importance of having fun and socializing together with the family during the process the world goes through.
“Parents need to double the time they take care of and play with their children,” he said, adding that spending more time with them may ease the process for them.
He also suggested that kids should be allowed to spend time with their friends online.
“In normal times, we would not recommend computer games or virtual environment, but in such extraordinary times, we can allow this,” he said.
However, the expert stressed, it is important to make it clear that the rules are being stretched due to the extraordinary period, and once it is over, they will not be spending that much time online.
He said that if the kid is showing behaviors such as aggression, sleep deprivation, problems in eating habits, despite parents’ care, the families should consult an expert through the Internet.
The novel coronavirus has spread to 185 countries and regions since emerging in Wuhan, China last December, with the U.S. and Europe being the hardest-hit.
As part of efforts to stem the spread of the COVID-19, the diseases caused by the coronavirus, many countries have imposed curfews or lockdowns.
In Turkey, the government imposed a curfew for the members of the nation aged under 20 and above 65, as well as weekend curfew that applies to the whole nation.