Background: Improving the mental health of children is one of the main tasks for modern society. The aim of the work is to study the dynamics of mental health in preschool and primary school children under a psychological and pedagogical experiment.
Methods: The study was conducted at 12 kindergartens (250 children) and 3 primary schools (200 children) in 2018 – 2019, in Moscow (Russian Federation). Children of each age group were divided into 2 groups according to the time spent on the Internet. The control group spent up to 15 minutes a day. The experimental group had an uncontrolled pastime. In total, there were 4 groups. The performance indicators (average score) and the dynamics of aggression were studied. The parents were provided with a survey. Children and parents had lectures with psychologists and teachers during the second academic year. The child aggression can be associated with an extra time spent on the Internet and the conniving attitude of parents.
Results: The conducted research confirmed the importance of complex actions in reducing the aggressiveness and improving the mental health of children. The joint work of psychologists, parents and children themselves gave positive results. The control groups children significantly faster reduced aggressiveness by 1.4 - 1.6 times, on average, comparing to the experimental groups (1.2 times, p ≤ 0.05). The aggressiveness of children is associated with a lack of parents’ attention, that leads to uncontrolled surfing on the Internet and playing video games. Children from the experimental group demonstrated aggressive behavior 1.5 - 1.7 times more often than children from the control group (p ≤ 0.01). The survey of parents showed the same pattern. Thus, connivance of aggression and an aggressive reaction to communication with teachers were more significant (0.5 - 0.7 times, p ≤ 0.05) in the experimental group compared with the control.
Conclusions: The improvement of the behavior of children was successful already after a 1 year of the experiment. The academic performance improved, while aggressiveness decreased in all groups.