The onset of the novel Coronavirus put the entire world on standstill. Countries went under lockdown, international and domestic travel bans were put in place and even educational institutions we’re asked to close. This quite literally forced us to adapt to the circumstances at hand come up with ways to facilitate learning in the midst of a global pandemic.
So far everything seems to be going well and in the right direction but we need to be mindful of the negative implications all this online learning can have on the health of children. These negative impacts can be both physical and mental and we need to stay aware of them and put in place activities that help counteract this.
Online Learning Disadvantages
Looking at the industry as a whole and the rate at which it’s growing, here are a few disadvantages online learning can have on your child’s health.
Online learning can cause social isolation. It restricts and takes away any sort of interaction with peers and teachers. Yes, they do interact on the internet during class sessions but it doesn’t do any justice to the interaction one achieves in a physical set up.
This social isolation can lead to contemplation, remoteness, and a lack of interaction. This especially at a young age can hamper one’s mental health drastically. Social isolation coupled with a lack of effective communication can lead to mental health issues like heightened stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts.
Online learning required a sense of self-motivation, drive, and time management skills. At the age of kids start school, they don’t necessarily know of or have these traits ingrained in them. A rigorous school timetable helps to establish the importance of time management that an online set up doesn’t seem to provide.
Parent and Teachers
It is through the combined efforts of teachers and parents that we will be able to minimize the negative impact online learning has on the physical and mental health of our children.
When it comes to driving and motivation, children will be forced to find it within themselves and will not have an external driving force. When at school, teachers and even other classmates can prove as an external source of motivation that can help keep a child going. It keeps them on their toes and well-constructed surroundings can do a great deal that alone managed online system fails to provide.
One major gaping hole in the online system is its inability to develop communicational skill development in online students. Interaction on a zoom class or a Google meeting is miles apart form an actual face to face social interaction.
This is a skill that’s imperative especially in young children. They will soon go out into the world and meet people from all walks of like. Right now their interaction is limited to their families and their teachers on the internet. This fails to help and sometimes is even counterproductive when it comes to developing communication skills.
Theoretical Vs Practical Knowledge
Online learning also mainly tends to focus more on the theoretical aspect of a topic rather than the practical application of it. This comes in due to the lack of access to all available resources that are otherwise at our disposal in a physical school.
For example, a kid performing chemistry or physics experiments themselves and Just viewing it on a computer screen has a world of a difference.
It fails to administer the knowledge of the practical application. Kids miss out on learning via doing and that is something that can only be facilitated in a physical school.
Keeping in mind all the negative impacts of online learning, we as parents can take a few steps to reduce if not totally remove them.
We can use our knowledge to help better their communication. So exercises with our kids that doesn’t feel like homework. Make sure you’re always available if your child wants to talk. Make them feel heard and not alone. As far as possible make arrangements to help them understand how everything their learning has an application in their daily life.