Parents opt for residential schools to wean children off mobile phones, gadgets

Almost all schools, including well-established private ones, in Hassan, have seen parents seeking transfer certificates to admit their children to residential schools in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts

June 09, 2022 02:14 pm | Updated 08:59 pm IST - Hassan

Usage of mobile phones by children went up during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.

Usage of mobile phones by children went up during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. | Photo Credit: For representation only

Many parents, worried over their children’s addiction to mobile phones and television, are preferring faraway residential schools to next-door day schools. Almost all schools, including well-established private ones, in Hassan, have seen parents seeking transfer certificates to admit their children to residential schools in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts.

The head of a private school in Hassan told The Hindu that, in 2022, four students, two each in class 6 and 8, took transfer certificates. They want to get admission for their children in residential schools in Dakshina Kannada district.

“In all four cases, the parents want their children to move away from their comfort zone for a few years so that they are back on the track in terms of academics. During the COVID-19 lockdown, the children were invariably dependent on mobile phones for online classes. Gradually, they got addicted to the phones, and spent long hours playing games or watching videos. Now, parents are struggling to discipline them,” he said.

According to the secretary of another private school, “Whenever parents seek transfer certificates, we interact with them to know the reasons for their decision. In almost all the cases, they had no complaints against the school. The parents are worried about disciplining their children. The common complaint is that the children don’t listen to their parents or elders at home.”

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A parent, who has admitted his son to a school in Dakshina Kannada district, says, “The COVID-19 pandemic brought many changes in our lifestyle, including the behaviour of children. He is the elder of two children. All these years, we pampered the children by giving them the gadgets they sought. Now, they hardly spend time with books. We thought it is right to put them in residential schools, where they would not have access to personal mobile phones.”

The family took the decision in the interest of their son’s future even though, emotionally, it was a tough move.

Parents need counselling, not children

Dr. S.V. Santhosh, Professor and Head of the Department of Psychiatry at Hassan Institute of Medical Sciences, said mobile phones were beneficial to students during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. However, excessive dependence on mobile phone have demerits.

“We are seeing cases of childhood depression and attempt to suicide in paediatric addiction to mobile phones. However, this cannot be resolved by sending children to hostels. In most cases, it is the parents who deserve counselling and treatment rather than the children. There is a need for awareness among people on the use of mobile phone,” he said.

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