Online classes throw up new issues for children

The result without adequate breaks was that children were exhausted soon and complaining of tired eyes and back pain.

By Author  |  Published: 12th May 2020  12:11 amUpdated: 11th May 2020  11:32 pm
Many students report neck and back pains. — Photo:Anand Dharmana

Hyderabad: The lockdown from late March has forced schools to shift to online classes to ensure that the curriculum is covered, but now, the excessive use of different mobile and computer applications for these classes is throwing up a new range of issues.

With most schools organising back-to-back classes, teachers were logging in soon after one class ends. The result without adequate breaks was that children were exhausted soon and complaining of tired eyes and back pain.

Physiotherapist Dr Naveen Pappala says he has had many parents call him about their kids facing posture and back-related problems.

“Children usually come out of the classroom after one class. Unfortunately with online lessons, you are sitting in one position for long. Many of them are also using mobile phones instead of a PC, so they end up hunched over the phone,” he explains.

With the reports of schools re-opening sometime in October, online classes are sure to become a way of life. This is now worrying many parents on the effects it will have on their children’s health.

Software professional Vivek Sampara, whose 12-year-old daughter attended online classes, tried to make things easy for her by propping up the mobile phone at the right height along with a Bluetooth earpiece.

“I saw some students wearing heavy headsets. Sure it cancels out noise, but what of the strain on the neck?” reflects Vivek.

“When we use screens on either laptop, phone or desktop, we blink less which can cause dryness in eyes. In fact, it’s known that we blink half as much as our normal blink rate when we work on digital devices,” explains Dr Prashant Gupta, senior consultant ophthalmologist, Apollo Hospitals, Hyderguda.

Over time, children can suffer from blurry vision, burning, irritation, heavy or tired eyes, eye strain, and even tearing up (reflex response to the dryness).

“I always tell patients to follow the “20-20-20” rule. Every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. And, the most important exercise is blinking, frequent blinking,” adds Dr Prashant.

Experts say proper diet, Vitamins B12 and D, and moderate exercise too are essential to prevent such issues.

“Instead of chips and aerated drinks, give them ‘ariselu’, ‘sunnundul’ and ‘sabudana’ which are filling and keep one full. Skipping, doing stretches like cat-cow stretch, neck rotations, bending the neck back and forward apart from side bends are also good for neck and shoulder pain. Just 20 minutes of exercise and see that your child moves every two hours,” adds Dr Naveen.

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