The whole world has been battling with Covid 19 for more than the last two years now. It has spared no one, be it adults, elderly, or kids. The schools, universities, and other educational institutes are also shut since the onset of Covid. That might have helped in curbing the spread of the virus, however, it has also given rise to a lot of problems such as no practical exposure, communication gap, increase in sedentary lifestyle, and affected learning ability.
The parents and children are worried that if this online classes arrangement goes on for a prolonged period of time, it could affect the children's mental and physical health. Dr Deepti Puranik, Assistant professor and Psychologist says, “The pandemic and lockdowns had a major impact on the psychological, emotional and social growth of children. Learnings of an offline class can never be learned through an online mode.”
Baleen Kaur (25), a freelance makeup artist and mother of a three years old girl says, “Due to pandemic restrictions, my daughter is not able to get an experience of the world outside. Going to preschool can help her make new friends, learn faster and adapt to social skills easily but it has not been possible yet.”
Tanmya Singh (32), IT professional & a father of five year old Tiara says, “It’s the start of my child’s school life but unfortunately she is not able to enjoy this new beginning. She is learning and experiencing everything from virtual classes and I am scared that it can affect her learning ability.”
The impact of lockdown on children is surely creating problems. Classrooms have been confined to a room and screen and because of this, their response to the outer world is getting impacted. Parents have expressed that many times children do not respond back to the teachers because they haven't seen or met them personally. This indicates a lack of communication which further results in children processing and learning things slowly.
Dr Puranik says, “Students are more likely to face social anxiety since they have lost the ability to stay in touch with people.” She explained that the drawbacks children have to face due to virtual classes can be seen at four different levels - Social, academic, physical and psychological.
Social- The children have not learned to share because of being stuck at home alone. This will impact their ability to work in teams which is very important for overall development.
Academic- The kind of co-action effect which is necessary for academics is lost in online learning. Apart from that, the motor skills which are developed when students inculcate writing habits are also reduced.
Physical- The major impact was certainly physical as students are more tuned to the internet and online games. This certainly has affected their eyesight. Apart from that, physical development is stunted when students don't play outdoor games.
Psychological- Overall psychological impact was seen in many children with less self-control & increased anxiety.
The online classes have not only affected children but the college-going crowd as well.
Ridhi Verma (18), a college student opines, “Pandemic has impacted my learning ability in both positive and negative manner. I am a sports person but due to the pandemic, for the last two years, I've received very few opportunities in the sports section. Now the exploration is only limited to the online world.”
While addressing the problems she added, “Whenever we have doubts in between the class, it becomes difficult to convey due to communication gaps.” While discussing the positive aspect of online classes, she expressed, “Due to the shutdown of universities, I have saved my travel expenses and a lot of time, which has helped me to gain experience in co-curricular activities like reading novels and learning new languages.”
Varnika Mohan (19), a college-going student says, “Lockdown has affected our mental and physical health. Our study routines have been ruined. This ultimately has impacted our process of picking up and learning things properly. Moreover, due to virtual classes, understanding the topic becomes very tough and we are not able to perform as we used to do in offline mode.”
Dr Puranik suggests, “Parents need to be extra cautious and need to spend more time with their children. This would help students to adjust to the online classes and also maintain balance.”