A perceptible rise in the number of city teenagers getting hooked to pornography is seen by psychiatrists amid the ongoing coronavirus lockdown.
Some adolescents have also been creating accounts on dating apps by faking their ages and chatting with strangers, sometimes exchanging inappropriate photographs.
Also, parents have been reporting to mental health professionals instances of youngsters injuring themselves to seek attention.
“Teenagers anyway want their space and privacy. Before the lockdown, they had outlets such as sports, going to school or college, hanging out with friends and other outdoor activities. When all of that is taken away, one ventures further into the virtual world. Parents cannot forbid them from using gadgets as academic sessions have gone also online during the lockdown,” said Dr Zirak Marker, senior psychiatrist.
“When a teen is bored and starts experimenting online, he is likely to test boundaries and act on sexual impulses in that regard. We are noticing an increase in instances of cyber bullying and access to sexual content among teenagers. While it is not possible for parents to be vigilant 24×7, they must talk to their children and make them cognisant of the fact that one has to be wary. Covid-19 is a global phenomenon and the predator, on the other end, is idle and as frustrated,” said Dr Marker.
Spending all those extra hours on the net is leading to irritability and sleep disturbances. “There is no real need to get up and go to school or lead a structured life anymore,” said Dr Kersi Chavda, consultant psychiatrist with PD Hinduja hospital.
“Children are creating accounts on dating apps by faking ages and chatting with strangers,” said Alisha Lalljee, special educator and psychotherapist.
There have also been instances of parents raising their hands on their children more than before.
“With so much anxiety, balancing work and chores, dealing with online schooling and worrying about pay cuts, all the frustration is being taken out on kids. I have seen an uptick in cases of children being physically hit,” said Dr Marker.