Online Classes Affecting Health of School Kids
The Covid pandemic has changed everything in the world and it has forced every child to miss the most important part in their lives i.e. School. Teachers teaching in a classroom filled with students has become a distant reality. Every kid is stuck with the new reality of remote learning ‘Online classes’.
Increasing screen time takes a toll on physical and mental health of children. Excess screen time can cause the following problems in your child:
- Digital eye strain, Dry eyes
- Neck pain
- Sleep disturbances
- Reduced attention span
- Behavioral changes like irritability, refusals, excessive arguments
- Impaired socializing skills
Below are a few handy tips to help children cope up with screen time stress.
Never ignore digital eye strain
Dry eyes, Itching, burning sensation in eyes are symptoms of digital eye strain. Severe eye strain can cause headaches and refractive errors like myopia and astigmatism. Eyes will get better when you give them a break. Let your child follow the 20-20-20 rule which helps for eyes to rest intermittently: Ensure that your kid takes a 20-second break every 20 minutes and looks at something 20 feet away. Over the counter Artificial tear drops help in relieving the dryness and itching of eyes. Be sure that your kid undergoes annual eye examination for checking and correcting the refractive errors.
Prevent tech neck in children
Pain in the neck, back, upper shoulders, headache, all these are the result of Tech neck. This is a condition caused by bent necks and slumped shoulders during screen time. Correct posture plays a huge role in prevention of neck pain. Make sure that your kid sits up straight, without bending the neck. Shoulders need to be relaxed and elbows should be placed close to the body. Micro breaks- taking a break for 15 seconds every 15 minutes helps hugely. Ensure that the kid changes posture like shifting weight, standing and sitting down every 15 minutes.
Don’t let screens disturb your kids’ sleep
Blue light can also interrupt sleep patterns and circadian rhythms when children view screens close to bedtime. Turn off screens and remove them from bedrooms at least one hour before bedtime.
Control the behavioral changes
Excess screen time and less interaction with family and friends are making kids cranky. Poor attention span, not listening when spoken to, arguing excessively, throwing age inappropriate tantrums are few of the many symptoms. To avoid these parents should engage in interesting and useful conversations that stimulate the child’s curiosity. Encourage your child to learn other activities such as sports, music and art.
Screen time plan- The saviour
Your child is never too young for a screen time plan. Avoid using screens as pacifiers to stop tantrums. Start the digital disciplining for the entire family with a small step like not eating while glued to phones or televisions. Limit the noneducational screen time during weekends. Aim for screen-free weekends. Technology is not all bad, but every parent should master the tricks of digital disciplining.
- ADHD: Tips for Online Learning, WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/childhood-adhd/tips-online-learning
- WEBMD: QUARANTINE HAVING LASTING IMPACTS ON KIDS’ HEALTH, CHC1: https://www.chc1.com/2020/05/19/webmd-quarantine-having-lasting-impacts-on-kids-health/
About Author –
Dr. Sudha. B , Senior Consultant Neonatologist , Yashoda Hospitals - Hyderabad
MBBS,MD(PGIMER),DNBPediatrics, Fellowship in Neonatology