Online teaching could make kids vulnerable to Corona Virus

Online teaching could make kids vulnerable to Corona Virus

In olden time kids usually read books and spent lesser time on screen (includes TV,  computer, etc). In the past few years teaching kids is not remaining same as earlier.

In the recent past, online education is rapidly increased due to competition among children. Most children take online classes due to nuclear-family as both parents go to work and parents can’t take them to coaching classes. Kids are spending lesser time in outdoor activities (lesser exposure in sunlight) as both parents are not having sufficient time to spend with them. Teachers also give them more creative activity as homework so kids use computers or mobile to search mostly.

Eye experts are informing parents of the dangers of increased digital screen-time on their children’s eyes due to online classes. Due to which children are at the risk of myopia (near-sightedness), dryness and redness of the eyes and disrupted sleep patterns. Dryness of the eyes can damage to the ocular surface (front surface of cornea) and could even make patients more susceptible to contracting COVID-19.

If someone use digital screen (including mobile, tablet, computer, laptop etc) and spending average 6-12 hours per day then their blink rate reduces along with that they could have symptoms of gritty sensation, itching, redness and dryness in the eyes. “When a person blinks, tears are liberated through tiny pores which lubricate the eye.

So kids also have lesser blink rate, pink eyes, and dryness of eyes while using screen and sometimes they are not expressing in front of parents. Most families may not have laptop or computer with them so mostly kids are taking classes in mobile phone.

The patient can become vulnerable to catching an infection when their ocular defence mechanisms are down. Conjunctivitis is a common presentation among Covid-19 patients, indicating that people with dryness issues in their eyes are at risk of contracting the infection. As they touch their eyes due to dryness and irritation, and eyes are at risk of contracting the infection.

Why we are more sensitive to smart phone or tablet screen? Why we should restrict small screen usage?
• Smart phone and tablet screen size is smaller than laptop or computer screen.
• Smaller screen size means smaller font size in mobile and tablet screen.
• Digital screen (mobile and tablet) is having sensors due to which screen brightness keep fluctuating with lighting conditions.
• Mobiles, tablets and laptops screen usually have glossy screen where light reflection may occur but computer monitors are not having glossy screen.
• Laptop and computer monitors do not have sensors to change the brightness and contrast automatically.
• Good thing: mobile and tablets are more handy - whenever or wherever you want to use them, press the button and screen get on within a second.
• Laptops are bulky; relatively screen size is bigger than a tablet but takes time to boot. A laptop has a glossy screen due to that reflection occurs.
• Computers need more space and computer screen size is definitely bigger in all screens and takes time to boot. There are no sensors to change the brightness and contrast automatically and there is no glossy screen in monitor.

Eye specialists advise parents to exercise caution by restricting screen time for children and incorporate regular breaks during class work.

Children who aren’t getting enough sunlight or change of scenery were at high risk of developing myopia or progression of myopia (worsening of nearsightedness). “Increased screen time will also lead to disruptions in their sleep patterns.” Eye specialist recommends an age-bracket approach to restricting screen time for children. “It is important that the number of teaching hours should be reduced greatly. If a child used to have eight hours of classes at school, the number of online hours cannot be of the same length.”

Computer use for children should be as follows (if needed):
• First standard classes should not be conducted online at all.
• Second to fifth class online classes should be 2-3 hours per day with the break of 30 minutes and parents should be involved for homework through Email or WhatsApp.
• Sixth to eighth class online classes should be 3-4 hours per day with the break of 30 minutes and parents should be involved for homework through Email or WhatsApp.
• Ninth to twelfth class online classes should be 4-6 hours per day with the break of 30 minutes and parents and teachers should be involved for homework through Email or WhatsApp.

Parents should be counseled that the kid should have some snacks, drink water and focus far objects during the break time. Room illumination should not be very bright or dull (semi dark) at the time of screen usage. Kids should not use screen in sleepy position and close to face. Parents should insist on kids to make book-reading habits. Book reading should always be in good illuminating room and sitting position. Books, mobile, and tablet should be kept at 30-35 cm distance from eyes. Computer monitor should be at least one hand’s-distance (50 cm) from eyes.

If kids are getting any kind of discomfort in their eyes; they should:
• Avoid excessive screen usage and eye rub.
• Take water wet cloth and put it over closed eyes.
• Frequent blinking during screen usage time.
• After online classes kids should close their eyes and give rest to their eyes for one hour.
• Children should follow computer vision syndrome (CVS) rules means take a 20 second-long break after every 20 minutes of screen time, and focus at something located 20 feet away.
• Lubricating eye drops could be administered during the day to facilitate moisture on eye surface.
• If kids rub their eyes then there is a risk to change the eyeball shape and glasses power may increase. Eye rubbing could sometimes lead as an eye allergy.