Kochi

Parenting clinics bare screen addiction among children

Parenting clinics opened by the Department of Women and Child Development in 15 Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) blocks in Ernakulam may need better awareness among the public to enhance their reach.

The clinics that were opened last month have a psychosocial counsellor each in charge of them, and their services are available for free from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday except on Second Saturdays and other public holidays that fall on Saturdays. The counsellors were given online training before being deployed.

“The response to the services seems to be picking up. To begin with, they are tending to referral cases from anganwadi teachers. References can also be made by people’s representatives and Asha workers. Parents too can walk in,” said K.S. Siny, District Child Protection Officer.

She added that the shortcomings in parenting, as exposed by a survey by the Department of Women and Child Development during the lockdown, prompted the opening of the clinics.

Mahitha Vipinachandran, the psychosocial counsellor in charge of the clinic at the Edappally additional ICDS block, said while the services seemed to be gaining momentum, better propagation about the free services would go a long way in enhancing response.

“Uncontrolled screen addiction among children seems to be the biggest parenting challenge. With online education being the flavour of the season, parents are simply not able to control the screen time of their wards. So much so that they seem to be in favour of reopening schools even in the face of risks posed by the pandemic,” she said.

Pandemic-inflicted financial constraints forcing parents to shift their children from premium schools to cost-effective ones and the resultant problems faced by children in getting acclimatised to the new environment seem to be another parenting challenge.

The parenting clinic held in association with UNICEF is a further extension of the long-running series of webinars being organised by the Department of Women and Child Development to encourage responsible parenting. The department is likely to take stock of the operations of the clinics shortly.

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 5:44:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/parenting-clinics-bare-screen-addiction-among-children/article33992880.ece

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