Kerala

Online classes raise the spectre of screen addiction

There is a need to find a balance between using gadgets and avoiding their harmful effects.

There is a need to find a balance between using gadgets and avoiding their harmful effects.   | Photo Credit: R. Ragu

A Class 2 student of a private school in the city spends a little over two hours a day in front of a laptop for his online classes.

The father of a Class 9 student says though she has four online classes of 40 minutes each with 25-minute breaks in between, homework and notes all increase her screen time. “She is busy from morning till evening with school work,” he points out.

Class duration

Parents say some schools are gradually upping the duration of the online classes. A Class 10 student in another school spends four hours in front of a smartphone for the classes.

Online classes raise the spectre of screen addiction
 

Maya M., Principal in-charge, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Pangode, says primary and secondary students in her school have two sessions each of 40 minutes and one-hour duration respectively, with one likely in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

Parents say the online classes have made it difficult to keep the children away from gadgets. Monitoring their use is not easy either. “Earlier, we used to wrest the gadgets from our children. Now, we hand them over readily,” says a parent.

The State General Education Department’s Victers classes have time slots ranging from half-an-hour for primary classes to two hours for secondary students a day.

Parents’ demand

However, parents of pre-primary students have been clamouring for online classes for their wards too, says an official.

T.V. Anil Kumar, professor and in-charge of child and adolescent psychiatry section at the Government Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, says children’s screen time and addiction are increasing on the whole. Children with behavioural issues can spin into gadget addiction pretty fast. Medical issues too may arise.

Strike a balance

He says there is a need to find a balance between using gadgets and avoiding their harmful effects. Adult supervision and restricted use are important. Parents should be aware of how to use mobile phones responsibly.

Ms. Maya suggests that self-learning should be promoted, so that children, except for young ones, studied on their own, rather than depend on the teacher completely. “At least 40% of a lesson can be studied by a student or else the screen time will go on increasing.”

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Printable version | Aug 15, 2020 5:39:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/online-classes-raise-the-spectre-of-screen-addiction/article31901442.ece

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