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Online classes to stay, but careful monitoring can prevent stress, eye strain.

Blended learning is the way forward, but to cut down screen time, schools should promote more audio lectures, engagement through quizzes and contests, additional reading from textbooks. Teachers should not give out homework and advise children to avoid playing online games or social networking.





Excess of everything is bad


There is no denying the fact that exposure to the digital world has broadened the horizons of young children. Now information on any subject under the sun is just a few clicks away. Overindulgence, however, is injurious to a person’s well being. Let us not get carried away by today’s needs and demands for a smartphone or laptop for “online coaching” during the Covid-19 pandemic. We must resist this promotion of electronic devices to get youngsters addicted. There is no substitute for classroom coaching to cover the prescribed syllabus, which includes laboratory work too.



Keep an eye on time children spend online


Children’s screen time has to be monitored. Many of them have a habit of playing games on their mobiles or laptops, because of which they have been prescribed spectacles. Parents should ensure that apart from online education, the youngsters minimize use of electronic devices. Many schools, in order to perform better than competitors, might not adhere to the time limit of three hours for online classes. Parents should ensure that schools stick to the rules.Apart from limiting screen time, using anti-glare spectacles too will help prevent eye strain in children.



Lectures via audio lessons


I believe in the present scenario we have no option. Our children need to be in academic mode via e-learning. But more screen time is leading to health problems, eye strain and mental stress. I believe by converting at least 25% of syllabus in audio lectures we can reduce screen time for children without worrying about them not completing their syllabus. Using reading mode and auto brightness features can lessen the impact of the harmful effects of staring at a screen. Schools should endorse and vouch for audio based lectures along with references to study material students have access to. Audio discussions should be held regularly and tests and assessments done in the same way as well. Parents can take charge and spend time managing teaching hours for their kids.



Surfing net a waste of time


Doubtlessly, unnecessary chatting on the phone and surfing the net can be a waste of time and very unproductive for students.Therefore, parents should keep a vigilant eye on their children to ensure they make the best of these times and do not misuse their gadgets. Presumably, things will change for the better when things normalize and schools reopen.



Ensure children get a break


To minimize exposure to digital devices, parents being nearest to their children can periodically ensure that during the long periods they study online, the youngsters take short breaks to rest. Schools and parents must ensure that the students are monitored closely through apps that can track what they are surfing.



Guidance must from parents, teachers


It is true that every coin has two sides. Digital devices have their merits and demerits. Children can gather a lot of information through the devices, which also make their lives easy. However, often youngsters download obscene material, or spend excessive hours chatting with friends or playing video games, which can affect their health and mental equilibrium. This is when parents and teachers can step in with the right guidance on studying online and making the best use of time offline. As of now, long breaks should be announced for primary classes and senior students should be divided into three groups in each class and allowed to attend schools two days a week while following social distancing and other safety norms.





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