Sat, Apr 12, 2014 - Page 11 News List

Observe children’s use of electronics to understand their minds: psychiatrists
觀察孩子玩3C 了解內心世界

A mother plays a video game with her two sons at an expo for parents and children in Greater Kaohsiung on Aug. 8, 2012.

Photo: Chang Chung-yi, Liberty Times

Regarding whether parents can truly comprehend what their children are thinking, psychiatrists say that with kids nowadays so enthralled with IT products, there is very little interaction and communication going on between parents and children, causing many things to remain bottled up and left unsaid. Can parents actually gain any insight by observing what video games their kids like to play? Which TV shows they enjoy watching? Which characters they like? If you want to understand a child’s inner world, there is no harm in talking and playing with them while they play with the IT products.

Lam Pok, an attending physician at Miaoli Wei Gong Memorial Hospital’s psychiatry department, says that back before 3C (computer, communications and consumer electronics) products existed, children and parents had more opportunities to talk with each other. Children used to vent their emotions by playing outdoor sports and also talked to their parents more about their feelings. With the proliferation of electronic products, video games have become the main way that children express their feelings. Characters in television dramas have also become objects for children to obtain emotional sustenance, making them less fond of talking to their parents about personal matters.

Lam says the theory of psychological projection explains why adolescents and young people often enjoy playing video games — the opponent that they are fighting is not actually the enemy in the game, but rather more likely to be someone in real life who makes them feel incredible pressure. It could be a classmate, a teacher or possibly parents. The same principle applies to watching the plots on TV or in films. Children who lack true love from their parents will easily be moved to tears when they see an alien savior come on the screen, Lam says.

When parents see their child playing video games or watching TV, it is best to get closer to them to make observations and show more concern for the child. Lam suggests that parents find an appropriate time to ask the following three questions. The first should be about which character they like the most. Liking a particular character is usually because that character has similar personality traits or has suffered in similar ways as the child. The second question should be about which character they wish they could be. This will be the person that possesses something that the child is lacking but aspires to be. The third question asks the child which character they loathe the most, which can represent someone who has probably hurt the child or gives them stress, Lam says.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)






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