Online learning or virtual classrooms may have helped children continue to learn during testing times. However, continued exposure to screens and limited outdoor activities have resulted in significant behavioral changes in them that are harmful to their overall physical and emotional growth. Highlight the major issues of continuous or prolonged online learning or of staying indoors, Govind Narayan Singh, Secretary, Gopal Narayan Singh University shared his observations and solutions to protect children from their dangerous impact in an exclusive conversation with Financial Express Online. Excerpts:
Virtual classes have turned kids into introverts. Have you seen the change in the students you deal with?
The reason kids become more reserved, restricted, or even introverted is that they spent a long time at home in this new normal where meetings and outdoor activities were restricted. Social interaction at this point has reduced to the lowest levels and young minds have now found gadgets as new friends. There is no doubt that technology currently plays a very important role, but the attention to games and other online activities has increased significantly, which has limited activities like reading books or outdoor and sporting activities. . The health of students is greatly affected due to these factors. Moreover, the lack of interaction also affects their mental health. Creativity may have increased, but the lack of personal touch in communication is lacking.
Nowadays, children are more and more addicted and comfortable with technology. Why are they reluctant to use technology to make new friends then?
Children have unfortunately become accustomed to technology and they do not realize the detrimental effects it has on their physical and mental health as well as their social growth. They cannot make friends in peer groups due to restrictions. Young minds don’t understand the nuances of social media and how it hinders their social life. The growing friendliness with gadgets even belittles the values of friendships and to them now that makes very little sense. Today, education in values is lacking in homes because families are fragmented. Dependence on technology is pushing children into the loneliness that was accentuated during the pandemic. Additionally, Covid has developed a fear of psychosis in families and as a result most children are isolated from the possibility of making friends.
Is there a way to reintroduce children to the outside world and motivate them to make new friends and come into regular contact with them?
To ensure that children don’t lose touch with the outside world and continue to grow socially by making friends, it’s important to fix the time they spend on gadgets or indoors. As online education has become part of the new normal, total online education should be discouraged and hybrid models should be adopted. Sports not only make children fit, but it also teaches many life lessons that can be useful in the future. Thus, sports habits should be encouraged in young minds. Cove’s cases are on the decline and vaccination is resuming and in this scenario small social gatherings in a safe environment can be organized and encouraged. Junior group mentoring should be launched and schools should also come up with innovative ways for engagements such as subject groups. Students should also be made aware of their social duties and may be asked to address their local or social issues or problems in the villages.
What issues can children face in their personality, daily activities, and overall development if they are afraid to talk to their peers?
Problems with the full personality development of children are a cause of misunderstanding the environment around them. With this, their thinking ability to solve problems may not see a resurgence. The mind does not grow with the body. In addition, less development of healthy relationships with the opposite sex is also a factor. Because of this, materialism breeds in young minds and they don’t care about values like respect and helping the needy. In addition, it greatly reduces the empathy quotient which is essential for growth as a good and responsible citizen.
How can the college and teachers help students fight this change?
The only way is to get them out of their homes so that they can grow as social beings and realize their responsibilities and importance in society. They should be encouraged to play more games and engage in team building and physical activities. They should be made aware of the problems existing in society and should be encouraged to try out their social duties. In addition, their positive efforts to bring about visible change in society and community networking should also be encouraged.