4G or not: Screen time has increased, so has anxiety among young Kashmiris

Srinagar:  It has been almost a month since Waqar, an architectural engineering student has stepped out of his house.

Scared of getting infected, he has become recluse and browses the internet throughout the day to know about the coronavirus pandemic.  “The news of confirmed cases and deaths give me goosebumps. This is not the first time we have witnessed lockdown, but the situation today is completely horrible,” he said.

Waqar is not an isolated case. Zainab, a class 6th student, has been confined to her house for the last three weeks. All-day she plays with the phone. With the result, she has lost her appetite and interest in studies.

 “I am worried that my daughter has lost interest in her studies. School authorities have provided e-content and video lectures but due to low internet speed she is not able to access it,” said Afooza, Zainab’s mother.

Mental health counselor at Child Guidance and Wellbeing Centre, IMHANS, Wasim Rashid Kakroo said watching news related to coronavirus directly impacts the mental health of students.  “Parents should not watch the news in the presence of children. Students should also refrain from watching corona related stuff,” he said

Wasim said the loss of appetite, sleeplessness, mood swings, and losing interest are all indications of stress. “Parents have to be patient because children tend to follow them. If parents are stressed, it will have a direct impact on children. They should create a stress-free environment in their homes,” he said.

Javid Ahmad Mir, a Post Graduate in Psychiatric Nursing said feeling anxious, confused, overwhelmed or helpless are the hallmarks during any disease outbreak.

“People should take adequate sleep and remain hydrated. They should remain connected to loved ones. Keep yourself busy with your interests like reading, music, sketch, painting, writing,” he said

Saliq, a Research Scholar at Central University of Kashmir said during past lockdowns they were secure in their homes but this time there is a threat everywhere.

 “Like many, I also left Kashmir during an unprecedented situation in 2019 to breathe some fresh air. I was preparing for admission to Ph.D. and stayed in Delhi to access the internet. Today we don’t have that option as well because the situation is same everywhere,” Saliq said.

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