Ever since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, our lives have upended in anticipated ways. As the world was thrust into consecutive lockdowns, businesses became digital, offices adopted remote work and schools took to online education. Cooped up inside homes, kids began spending hours glued to their screens, taking one class after another. The excitement of the first few months gave way to the physical and mental toll that was soon to follow.
Extensively long screen hours and lack of physical activity have caused adverse effects on the physical as well as mental health of these kids. From eyesight problems and poor posture to mounting levels of stress and anxiety and emotional outbursts, online education has deteriorated the health of children. Given the paradigm shift towards online education, kids have developed severe health conditions that could have a long-term impact on their life.
Severe Health Effects on Kids’ Health Due to Online Education
• Eyesight Problems
One of the most visible and early impacts of online classes seen in children is eyesight problems. As children attend school online and later tuitions and extracurricular activities as well, their screen time has increased. Due to prolonged hours before a screen, the strain on their eyes has aggravated, resulting in poor vision and headaches. Lack of clarity in vision and frequent headaches are the tell-tale signs of deteriorating eyesight and parents should see a doctor at the earliest.
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• Poor Posture
As kids began taking online classes from the comfort of their beds and sofas, their posture was severely compromised. Constant sitting and lack of physical games and activities have further exacerbated their postural problems. As a result, kids are nowadays complaining of backaches, neck pain, fibromyalgia, etc. Parents must make sure that children sit straight on a table and chair instead of lying down or bending at add angles while studying. Including some stretching and physical exercises daily can also help in rectifying their posture.
Back-to-back Zoom classes, online games and binge-watching have led to mental fatigue and burnout in young children. Children are spending maximum hours before a screen for studying as well as recreation. Online education has robbed kids of going to school, participating in new activities, getting exposure and making new friends. As a result, kids of such young age are facing lethargy, boredom and exhaustion. This can have a severe impact on their mental and emotional well-being.
Lack of regular physical activities, sports participation, and extended sitting have resulted in weight gain in masses of children. Along with constant sitting, kids are binge eating snacks and junk food which is resulting in obesity in many young kids. Due to physical inactivity, kids are losing their muscle mass and gaining fat. As a result, they are experiencing obesity, lack of stamina and flexibility.
Lack of a stable school-going routine has caused kids to wake up and take their meals at irregular times. Additionally, lack of exposure to Sun and sports along with poor diets is resulting in nutritional deficiencies in young kids. As a result of dietary deficiencies, kids are becoming prone to injuries and their fitness levels are deteriorating. Deficiencies in a child’s formative years can cause them serious health concerns in later life.
• Restlessness and Anxiety
Due to the pandemic, disruption in their school lives and education has caused kids to become easily restless and anxious. Moreover, social isolation and recent traumas are worsening the mental state of young children. Skipping online classes, lack of a serious environment and other factors are causing their attention span to decrease. As a result, kids are becoming more fidgety, inattentive and anxious. Such kids are also more likely to face self-esteem and stress issues.
While it is impossible to predict when the global pandemic will pass and life will return to normal, it is possible to minimize the adverse effects of online education on kids. Maintaining a routine that involves physical exercise, healthy diet and sound sleeping habits can help kids get their lives back on track. Parents should be cautious and supportive and help their kids create a healthy routine for themselves. They should not only focus on their physical well-being but also their mental health so future problems can be averted well in time.
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