One of the 21st century illnesses, hikikomori is often seen in children and teenagers. The biggest symptom of the sentence “My child is not leaving his room”, which we are all familiar with, is experienced intensely. Because children who are hikikomori spend all their time outside of their basic needs in their rooms and live in isolation from social and family life. We asked Pedagogue Öznur Simav what we need to know about Hikikomori.
What does hikikomori originate from? Why is it called a 21st century disease?
If we count the sources of hikikomorin as matter, it is possible to list them as follows:
- A certain economic level of development has provided easy access to digital tools,
- Having to work with body strength has decreased,
- The use of a digital system for all our needs, and now that we have more relationship with screens, making our work easier
- Being able to find solutions to all our needs easily,
- Using technology from an early age,
The fact that it creates internalization in use and that very easy results and returns are achieved in the activities here are among the sources of hikikomori… With this cycle, a warm bond is established with the child and its repetition occurs spontaneously and very naturally. The reason why it is called the disease of the 21st century is entirely because of the effects of the digital world on human beings and its direct impact on life.
In which age group is hikikomori more common?
Based on my observance and my clients about which age group is seen more often, I can make an opinion as follows: Children in preschool and primary school are less likely to have hikikomoria due to the high level of family control and the fact that family control is generally difficult but can be achieved. As adolescents do not need to communicate with the outside world in their uncontrolled or closed rooms, the groundwork is prepared for hikikomoria. Adolescents who are thought to be studying and are left uncontrolled, establish a virtual world for themselves. Of course, it is very possible to see family children who do not have to work outside economically and whose income is middle and above average.
Did the increasing use of technology during the pandemic process increase the incidence of hikikomori disease?
The incidence of the hikikomori disease during the pandemic process can be a deterrent, perhaps because all the lessons have to be seen on the screen. There may be a setback due to the children’s need to move, but adolescents and young people who do not have satisfactory communication with their families at home may spend longer on the screen.
Because of distance education, it has become increasingly difficult to restrict children’s relationship with technology, so what should families do at this point?
Distance education has forced to increase the time to use the screen. Control is required to ensure that children participate in the lesson effectively during the lesson. Is the parent at home, the child watching something else on the screen? Is he playing a game? Tracking is required. Apart from this, during breaks, the child should be kept away from the screen and directed to the movement. The importance of time and the benefits of effective time use and what can be done in the increasing time should be discussed and the sharing within the family should be increased in times of being with the family. Wherever possible, children should be directed to artistic activities and outdoor games. Also, participating in household chores is a good practice to stay away from the screen for part of the time. You must make positive feedbacks in this participation.
What are the differences between introversion and hikikomori in terms of not being confused with introversion?
We can say the following about mixing with introversion. Apart from the situation that we observe as introverted at a young age, a social and extroverted child may turn inward and become addicted due to hikikomoria over time. They don’t want to leave their rooms. It constantly postpones even very essential needs such as physical needs such as toilet, nutrition, cleaning, and sleep. The introverted child doesn’t necessarily spend a long time on the screen. It remains silent in the family or friends environment and is generally in a listening position. It does not have any problems in meeting its special needs.