Panel discussion “Children’s World Is Bigger than the Screen” in Niš

A fourth in a row panel discussion dubbed “Children’s World Is Bigger than the Screen”, organized by the Telekom Srbija company, was held on Saturday at the Grand Hall of the National Theatre in Niš. Ranko Rajović, the head of the Department for Neurosciences in Upbringing and Education at the Pedagogical Faculty in Koper, Marijana Mirković, the master speech therapist at the Institute for Psychophysiological Disorders and Speech Pathology “Prof. dr Cvetko Brajović” and Bojana Drljan, the assistant professor at the Faculty for Special Education and Rehabilitation, spoke about the consequences of excessive exposure of children to screens.

’’Telekom Srbija has organized these panel discussions to provide space where expert opinion can be heard. We believe that we have appropriately presented this topic, as people showed great interest in the lectures given by the experts involved in this project. The capacities of all halls in four cities were filled up, raising high demand for an extra ticket. We are convinced that we have made a sound platform, for this topic to develop further, for the purpose of ensuring the best possible conditions and environment for the development of our children. Children’s world is bigger than the screen and it should remain so“, said Marija Bošković, the head of the PR Department of Telekom Srbija.

The onset of massive use of digital technologies has brought a number of debates concerning the impact of such technologies on children, which is why this topic is highly important both for professionals and for parents, who struggle to adequately address all these possible issues and harmful influences in order to protect their children.

’’When children play video games, whether they advance to a higher level or not, they quickly shift the feelings of joy, sadness, anticipation and happiness – in just one minute they swerve between 10-15 emotions and once they escape to the real world, they feel bored“, said dr Ranko Rajović.

Dr Rajović said that at modern times children have become captives of the virtual world, substituting reality with a small device, parents being unsure what to do and how to handle it, while master speech therapist Marijana Mirković said that a growing number of children experience difficulties in speech and language development.

’’It turns out that children who spend a lot of screen time during the day lose precious time for listening, comprehension and acquisition of their native languages. Children start speaking later, they fail to understand the language of their environment, their attention is disconnected from the communication that surrounds them, and they acquire very meagre vocabulary and fail to develop sufficient need for communication“, said Marijana Mirković.

During the panel discussion, speakers provided parents with recommendations regarding the activities with positive impact on children’s development, such as games, sports, songs and speech exercises that will contribute to all aspects of their healthy upbringing, supported by numerous examples from practice.

Assistant professor Bojana Drljan said that the first things parents can observe are some phases in speech development missing and difficulties in the sphere of comprehension. ’’The unmistakable syndrome is when children do not respond to calling their names and do not make an eye contact, which is a direct consequence of their attention shift from natural verbal communication to the communication coming from their screens“, said Bojana Drljan.

The campaign dubbed “Children’s World Is Bigger than the Screen” was launched by Telekom Srbija, as a regional leader in the sphere of telecommunications and as a company that strives to be responsible to all community members. Aimed at experts’ raising awareness of the importance of moderate use of digital technologies in the children’s early development period, the panel discussions were organized in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Kragujevac and Niš.