Lost Childhood

Lost Childhood
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Gone are the days when childhood was defined by fun, frolic and adventure for children. Children of yore would , generally speaking, balance their demands of education with socializing and playing with others. They would cut their teeth in playing fields, adventures of many sorts and other related themes. The outcome would be a transition into healthy, balanced adults. But , today’s children, in the context of Kashmir , are heavily burdened by both by the demands, social and familial of academic performance and the lifestyles induced by access to technology. Consequently, the toll exacted has been on their health. Again, in the context of Kashmir, more than 20 percent of school children in Srinagar district have or are likely to have high blood pressure, according to a medical study done on 760 school students by the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine (SPM), Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar. Pre-hypertension was detected among many kids, putting them at high risk of developing hypertension in adulthood. This is a district wise statistic. Obviously, if a pan Kashmir view is taken, the incidence of high blood pressure among children would be more. In most of the cases, hypertension and an abnormal blood pressure, is usually asymptomatic. That is, there are no obvious symptoms. This makes dealing with the disease all the more challenging. In the nature of an alarming development, this trend must alert society to the perils of a bounded childhood. The antidote to the problem does not merely lie in medical treatment but actually creating conditions for a healthy and balanced childhood. Among other things, it must mean that children are allowed to be children. They must not be subject to pressures of many kinds especially when they are at a delicate age. Here the role of the family becomes important. First and foremost, parents must ensure that children live “normal lives” in the sense that they socialize with their peers and do what comes naturally to them: indulge in fun and adventure. Second, demands of academic performance must correspond to and be commensurate with their age. Third, it must be ensured that children are given healthy, balanced diets. And , last but not the least, access and exposure to technological mediums must be regulated on a need basis. The suggestions delineated here are not exhaustive. There’s more that can and must be done for children. Society and parents must rise to the occasion and do their utmost to help children live a fuller life. Let us all make a pledge today to not to rob our children of a childhood in the real and substantive sense of the term.

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