Pandemic isolation is affecting the young people

Pandemic isolation is affecting the young people

Young people in Bengaluru are avoiding friends. They are even avoiding going outside to play or catch a breath of fresh air

Experts fear kids may get used to online communication and avoid spending time outside in the long run. Pic for representation

Young people in Bengaluru are avoiding friends. They are even avoiding going outside to play or catch a breath of fresh air.

According to Dr Arvind Prabhu, head of the psychiatric department at Dr BR Ambedkar Medical College/Hospital, the pandemic can impair the social skills of children and college-goers more than that of the elderly. “They may develop a habit of playing on electronic devices and become screen-addicted,” he explains. Likewise, college student Karen Daniel believes that adults can cope with the stay-at-home lifestyle much more easily than small children. “Adults can stay in touch with their friends using the phone but kids need to go out and play and have social interaction.”

Saima Yunus, another college student, is of the same view. “Kids may get accustomed to online ways of communication and avoid spending time outside their home.”

Exhorting the need for personal relationships, Nisha Menzies Rao, a psychology professor at St Joseph’s College, says, “Social skills are like other skills. They improve with practice.”

However, Shefali Elizabeth Mathew, an English professor at St Joseph’s College, feels it’s not right to pan the digital media all the time. It can be used to foster connections as well. “I’ve reconnected with lots of people during the pandemic. I realised there were many people I cared about and I loved talking to,” she said.

“It is important to maintain social relationships as the pandemic is not going to go on for years on end,” Dr Prabhu signs off on that important note.

Tips to socialise

“Use social media to keep in touch with friends but in a limited manner. Social media is a double-edged sword,” Dr Prabhu warns. Schedule a Zoom catch-up call with your pals every week, throw Netflix or Twitch parties, or organise online game nights, suggest Karen and Saima.

If you don’t like group activities, call up or text your friends regularly. And, if you are comfortable with in-person meetings, call friends over to your house or meet outside.

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