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Online Learning- Boon or Bane

With the Covid 19 outbreak, we have gone through many transformations in every Sphere of our life. The impact is most eminent in the academic year of the student. The disruption in their regular classes, the cancellation of major examination and sudden shift to online schools for learning has dishevelled student’s age old academic life style.

“The students of the future will demand the learning support that is appropriate for their situation or context. Nothing more, nothing less. And they want it at the moment the need arises. Not sooner, not later. Mobile devices will be a key technology for providing that learning support.” –

Dr. Marcus Specht

With the advent of the new phase of learning, arises the sparkling debate on whether the increase amount of time being exposed to the screen helps benefits students or rather it shackles their progress. One cannot deny the fact that the ongoing pandemic has led to the increase amount of screen time where families are relying on technologies and digital solutions to keep children updated, connected with the world and be in touch with their studies. To deal with the current situation we have to have an alternative resource to study outside the classroom environment. This is indeed stressful and something that one is absolutely unaware of at a time which is trying for everyone and our task is to provide our children with something that does not pose a harm in their routine learning rather facilitates it.

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With turning to online classes and schools from a typical learning scenario, the concerns about children’s safety do arise in our mind. After all, they are exposed to internet for such long hours which comes with its set of challenges and by-lines. This is of course a vital concern and can be addressed through various ways so as to welcome this new mode of learning with lots of positivity and hope.

I do believe that online classes has increased screen time for children, but it is also a fact that children are anyways hooked to screens whether it is in the form of television, tabs or computer. They are used to extensive screen time even long before the advent of Covid 19 pandemic. Keeping in mind that long screen time is harmful for kids, schools have interspersed classes with hand on activities. Observing the present situation what we need to keep in mind is that if we do not hold these classes, we will be delaying the child’s brain development in a desired manner. In early childhood, the child’s brain develops every day and we cannot afford to miss even a single day’s endeavour towards the same. For brain development, children need to receive the right kind of elicitation, which only teachers can provide. They have been trained to provide age-appropriate guidance and facilitation.

Concerns over extensive exposure of screen and net usage

Pandemic has led to an unprecedented rise in screen time, but screens were there and screens will be there in the modern world. Parents need to understand that we all live in a virtual or digital world and it is time to give children the values of the new world, its responsibility, resilience, integrity and create a positive digital footprint. Experts says that our eyes are sturdy and have the ability to take all kinds of radiations, however, what matters most is if the rate of blinking goes down or if you are exposed to the screen at a close distance. The best way to deal with these kinds of issues is by taking enough breaks. Practice by shutting eyes for 10 seconds etc. Moderate attention must be given to the the screen size too. 

Types of online dangers for kids

As a safety measure we all need to be aware of the different kinds of online danger that exists. Being the most active user of the internet, they are subject to numerous online threats. This is where we need to worry. The most communicated common threats on the internet are inappropriate contents, cyberbullying, Chat room, and online scams about which children are quite ignorant and they easily fall victim.

Yes, online learning has put lots of responsibilities on the parents to teach children about online safety. We have to make extra effort to teach our children online safety since we cannot monitor our children all the time they are online.

 Protect your children from online predators

As parents we never want to think that of our child being targeted by online predators. Be mindful of the fact that the dangerous people have our child’s social media accounts and other private information, you must be cautious. Upon educating yourself and your child about what online activity assaulter indulge in can help sidestep these dangers. Having a frequent conversations about what is happening on your child’s social media accounts can help us catch suspicious activity early. If required monitor their social media account, reminding them that it is for their safety. Make it a habit to communicate openly and honestly with your child especially about their online behaviour. We can help them avoid online predators only by making them informed and aware.

Make internet safety rules

Make your children understand that we can do lots of interesting things on the internet, yet we need to keep ourselves safe and secured. Teach them that they should not upload anything that they would not want their parents, teachers or relatives seeing. Once things are posted you lose control of it. Keep on reminding them not to share any personal details about themselves.  Caution them from clicking on links from emails or messages that ask them to log in or share their details. Habituate them to keep their information and devices secured, and cover their webcam when it is not in use.

Conclusion:

The Covid-19 lockdown has spawned an unprecedented dependence on technology. This is indeed a challenging time for all of us and we need to adjust ourselves with the new reality and its implications. Learning online will increase more screen time for kids, expose them to more online risks and dangers, but we need ourselves to be more informed and quite cautious. Hopefully, by adopting these common sense practices and safety measures one can help us and our treasured ones navigate through this new terrain and make the most out of at-home learning.