As the pandemic rapidly spread across the country, schools remain shut and classes have moved online. The shift to online learning has impacted teachers and students who have had to adjust to a new learning routine. As the things are getting back to normal, we have also entered a new phase of our reality, increased online school work and the expectation to interact virtually. Gadgets that were a getaway from study routines for children have now been immersed with screen time multiple hours a day. Colleges and universities are moving courses online speedily without much support, online learning is being done poorly for many, defeating the overall purpose in addition to affecting the health.
Where experts have linked long time exposure to long term effect on health of children, some parents are reporting mental health issues too due to excessive use of gadgets, including mood swings. Long online classes are causing pain and swelling in eyes which are glued to the screen for prolonged hours. There has been an increase in the number of children reaching spectacle shops with complaints of headaches and eye pain. Eye dryness, stiffness, back pains are other notable symptoms in children.
Apart from the physical adversities that it is caused, too much screen time might also lead to a feeling of isolation and anxiety in the current structure. It can lead to depression and an escalation in neurotic traits such as nail biting, eye strain, anxiety, headaches. An estimated 50% to 90% of individuals using the screen suffer from some degree of eye strain as a direct result of their usage.
The circadian rhythm – the biological rhythm of the body that regulates the sleep-wake cycle – is based on exposure to natural light, maintained by waking up when there is light and sleeping when it is dark. An increased screen time can have a negative impact on rhythm, therefore affecting the body cycle.
Not all aspects of online learning are destructive. Digital education can increase levels of safety, which may enable students to feel more willing to engage with learning materials from a comforting space.
Here are a few ways to combat with the stress :
- Take breaks in between classes
- Splash your eyes with cold water to relieve the muscles of the stress
- Rotate your eyes clockwise and side to side to exercise the eye muscles
- Blink to refresh your eyes
- Adjust the brightness of your device
- Use lubricating eye drops in case of dryness
- Choose an appropriate eye wear
- Take a walk outside
- Do not use devices in low light settings
- Look away from your computer screen at least every 20 minutes for 20 seconds
- Go for a checkup if any symptom persists longer than usual