Another effect of the coronavirus revealed: Early puberty
According to a research conducted by scientists in Italy, the cases of early adolescence have increased in children during the pandemic period due to the sedentary life and intensive use of technology. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Specialist Assoc. Prof. Dr. Canan Tanıdır says, “Keep the children away from convenience food, limit the use of technology, shorten the time spent on the computer. “Do not let them have a social media account before the age of 15.”
In the studies conducted during the pandemic in Italy, it has been revealed that early adolescence cases in girls have remarkably increased within a year. In the study, cases in the last 5 years were compared. Accordingly, during the epidemic process, there has been an increase in the number of cases and an acceleration in the course of the children diagnosed.
GIRLS AT AGE OF 8, BOYS AT AGE OF 9
Researchers attributed this to the increase in the body mass index of children and the increase in the duration of using technology devices during the stay at home in Italy, which applied full closure measurements. Premature puberty is the observation of symptoms related to puberty before the age of 8 in girls and 9 in boys. Obesity, consumption of hormonal foods, exposure to plastic and scented cleaning agents are thought to be among the reasons.
CONVENIENCE FOOD INCREASES FAT RATE
Evaluating the results of the study, from Istanbul Gelisim University child and adolescent psychiatry specialist Assoc. Prof. Dr. Canan Tanıdır says, “We have been observing the phenomenon of early puberty in young people in recent years. But the study in Italy has revealed that there is a more pronounced increase compared to previous years, especially during the pandemic period. There are 2 important factors here. Increasing adipose tissue in the body and obesity are considered risk factors for early puberty. This is the most important effect of the pandemic. We spend time sedentarily because we are at homes. During this period, children turn to snacks, fatty foods, junk foods and packaged products. Therefore, such hormonal foods cause premature puberty."
INTERNET USE AFFECTS NEGATIVELY, CONTROL IT!
Stating that with the pandemic, children are more exposed to contents that are not suitable for their age, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tanıdır continues, “Another factor in the study is spending long hours on the internet. I also observe this in my patients. At home, children are more exposed to content that are not appropriate for their age. Families have also lost control because they are on the computer for long hours, too. Apart from playing games on the computer, even 7-8 year olds constantly watch videos on Youtube. Children watch videos that are not suitable for their age. In the videos watched, slang discourses, sexual content and topics related to sexual orientation can be covered. Young children grow up fast when exposed to such content at an early age. They obtain information that is inappropriate for their age. This is not a positive thing because they get confused.”
8-YEAR-OLD CHILDREN CAN SAY 'MY LIFE, DO NOT INTERFERE'
Emphasizing that now she observes the behaviors of adolescents in children, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tanıdır says, "8-year-olds utter words such as ‘you cannot interfere with me’, ‘I do what I want to’, ‘my decisions, my life’. This is because they are exposed to uncontrolled social media contents. The teenagers lock themselves in their rooms, watch movies, talk with their friends. They do not want to be interfered, they want to make their own decisions. These are normal behaviors for them. However, such behaviors are odd for 7-8 year old children. We do not expect them to make the statements like ’do not interfere with me’ and have thoughts such as breaking away from family or individuality."
PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILDREN SHOULD NOT WATCH YOUTUBE VIDEOS
Suggesting that families strictly limit internet use, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Canan Tanıdır indicates, “You should limit it since I see that there is no control over which website the children visit and what they watch. I do not recommend children surfing the internet, except for certain games. Especially primary school children should not watch YouTube videos."
DO NOT LET THEM HAVE A SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT BEFORE 15
Stating that it is not right for children to have social media accounts, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tanıdır says, “Before being a teenager or before the age of 15, the children should not have a social media account. I do not recommend opening a social media account for a child who does not reach a certain mental maturity since they can be exposed to bullying, sexual content and harassment there.”
PREPARE HEALTHY SNACKS
Reminding that some children eat when they get bored, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tanıdır suggests, “Families can prepare healthy snacks to keep children away from junk food. But do not be too rigid. Once in a while, candy and chocolate can be used as a reward. However, you should also be careful when rewarding them. Rewarding system shouldn’t be discouraging. Families should be careful not to consume foods containing additives too often. It is also necessary to encourage children to do sports.”
Edited date: 10.05.2021