The flip side of e-learning

How teachers and parents can help children cope with the stress of online classes

Published - October 14, 2020 02:38 pm IST



The novel coronavirus has put students across different age groups in jeopardy. From disrupted sleep patterns to increased screen time to rising complaints about headaches, the shift to digital classrooms has raised concerns about its longevity. One significant result is the effect on a child’s sleep habits, which influences physical and emotional wellness. A restless human brain can lead to depletion in the pre-frontal cortex, which ordinarily keeps our amygdala, the emotional region of the brain.

Without the structure and face-to-face communication with the teachers, some students may find it hard to focus on their studies. At home, there may be interruptions from younger kids or household chores that must be finished. It tends to be hard to create a peaceful learning environment.

E-learning is also known to make students feel lonely, as they miss being with their peers. Loneliness can rapidly lead to higher suicides rates. Absence of social connections found in the traditional classrooms also makes it difficult for them to cope. Companionship of their peers gives them a lot of support.

Causes and effects

E-learning has forced students to reset the way they learn and adapt to new techniques overnight. They are more stressed while studying from home. This pressure and nervousness is a consequence of them not feeling in charge of the circumstances. A few analysts have noticed that increased use of technology can even change a child’s nature. A youngster who invests an excessive amount of energy in virtual technology is less inclined to develop compelling social skills to communicate in a room full of people.

Apart from slow mental development, lack of physical activities can also growth. A child’s sensory and motor growth are not adjusted to the inactive and intellectually tumultuous nature of technology. Parents must be cautious and aware when their child’s motor and sensory development fail to achieve the desired milestones.

In such a situation, both parents and teachers can help the child’s psychological well-being. Parents can implement a routine that involves specific times for resting, eating, and working out. Family dinners are a time for parents to put away their own gadgets and talk to their children. Ask them how they’re doing, watch for any change in behaviour, and build up conversations frequently with one another. During virtual sessions with students, teachers can urge them to do a quick exercise before focusing on their work.

More health education interventions are required in India to expand attention on this issue.

The writer is Sr. Consultant Psychiatrist, Sukoon Hospital, Clinically Governed by Fortis Healthcare.

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