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Table of Contents
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 65-66

Online class – Is it a threat to mental health?

1 Assistant Professor, ESIC College of Nursing, Bangalore, India
2 HoD, Department of Mental Health Nursing, Ramaiah Institute of Nursing Education and Research, Bangalore, India

Date of Submission12-Jan-2021
Date of Decision03-Feb-2021
Date of Acceptance31-Mar-2021
Date of Web Publication17-Jun-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. M Vijayarani
ESIC College of Nursing, Indiranagar, Bengaluru – 560 008, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2231-1505.318669

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How to cite this article:
Vijayarani M, Balamurugan G. Online class – Is it a threat to mental health?. Indian J Psy Nsg 2021;18:65-6

How to cite this URL:
Vijayarani M, Balamurugan G. Online class – Is it a threat to mental health?. Indian J Psy Nsg [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Nov 30];18:65-6. Available from: https://www.ijpn.in/text.asp?2021/18/1/65/318669

COVID-19, a deadly and contagious epidemic, has had a major effect on the global economy. This tragedy has already shaken the education system, and this fear is likely to ripple across the world's education system.[1] Schools and colleges across India have been closed since mid-March 2020 to implement social distancing, which is deemed the best practice for COVID-19 mitigation in the absence of a vaccine or medication.[2] The virtual world has come to the rescue after the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the usual lifestyle of people globally. Schools have moved their base to virtual platforms to conduct classes online. As an alternative to regular face-to-face lessons, online education has arisen.

Online lessons are assisting educational institutions across India in overcoming the Covid-19 lockout and advancing the academic calendar. However, among parents, educational experts and health experts, the trend has raised several questions.[2] In the shadow of Covid-19, the lives of millions of children have shrunk to just their homes and computers/laptops/tablets/mobile phones.[2] Physical classes are unlikely to resume in the coming days with a countrywide lockdown in place.

Several claims are correlated with e-learning. Accessibility, affordability, learning pedagogy, life-long learning, and policy are some of the reasons relevant to online pedagogy. Although online learning has several advantages such as readily available and can also enter remote and rural area, comparatively cheaper educational mode in terms of the lower cost of education, transportation, flexibility, lodging, and total institution-based learning costs it has its demerits.[1]

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India has been urging schools and colleges to provide online tutorials to students, to ensure the academic calendar does not experience any disruption due to the lockout, besides making many outlets available to support the exercise.[2] The MHRD recommended just 30 h of screen time for preprimary students, two classes of 45 min each for classes 1–8 and four classes of 45 min each for classes 9–12. However, schools do not strictly follow it. They started initially with one class, eventually increasing it from 4 to 5 h a day. It also appears to be expanded occasionally, accompanied by the upload of a lot of homework and classwork on the Internet, WhatsApp, School app, and google classroom. In the evening, the kids have to finish their homework. Students often find it so frustrating that they have to log in and log out multiple times between the technological and internet glitches for each lesson.

Sitting in front of the screen or tablet often makes the kids so overwhelming, it is hard for them. Ideally speaking, in the virtual world, schools began to work fully with the mental health of children being crushed over there. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has already put the children under unimaginable stress, they barely had time to relax as they have to study for the unit test and exams online in the evenings.

There is also havoc among the kids in these online classes, so they become cranky and restless. Schools have also published the children's results in the examinations that generate excessive stress among them, which in turn makes them nervous about their grading among the classes. This would also impose stress on the parents, which in turn affects the children by pressuring them to study and obtain the expected grades.

After all these, they are unable to concentrate on their work. This would be worse than cannabis abuse, some psychologists have claimed. Too much exposure to smartphones and desktop screens leads to a feeling of isolation and distress in the current situation. It can trigger depression as well as an increase in neurotic behaviors, including nail-biting, thumb sucking, and hair-pulling.

Many health and educational institutions around the country have been researching the increased dependence on devices among adults and children during the lockdown, as well as the impact of the situation on mental health.[2]

In our view, the children would struggle during the online classes. As schools stay closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, parents are becoming more annoyed as their children waste long hours on laptops and smartphones for online lessons. Significant researches also reveal that the children who are undergoing online classes also had a lot of other issues such as leading to stress, eye problems, fever, headaches, aggressive behavior,[3] eye strain on eyes and ears, obesity and poorly developed social skills, mental disorders and risk-taking behavior,[3] heart diseases,[2] lonely, angry, demotivation, frustration, hyperactivity, sensory issues,[4] and disturbed sleep patterns. Since the kids get stressed because of this, it also places stress among the parents in turn.

At least two out of five children show the signs of hyperactivity and sensory difficulties that are directly linked to online class attendance. Teenagers' cases of anxiety and depression have nearly doubled from pre-Covid peaks. In addition to other pandemic-related factors, many cite online classes as a major contributing factor, such as fear of losing loved ones and the confusion of their uncertainty.[4] Psychologists believe it is imperative to look at the short- and long-term effects of online classes on the mental well-being of children and their families. Kids have a hard time self-regulating themselves; some do not do their homework, turn off their video and browse the Internet during online classes.

  Guidelines for the Protection of Child Mental Health Top

  • Schools should take the initiative to cut down the syllabus by concentrating on very important lessons
  • Schools can opt-out of grading schemes as the ranking and grading causes undue stress among the children
  • Schools may use a single platform for academic communication as it would avoid confusions among the children
  • The in-built, speech-to-text platform may be used by the school applications to assist children in typing during online classes
  • Don't build different downloadable school applications[4]
  • Calming instruments and breathing games may be added to the school applications
  • Some classes may be arranged for the students exclusively for fun and interaction
  • Any behavioral changes noticed in children must be taken care of
  • Parents need to be fully aware of the possible advantages and dangers of the internet to use it to their advantage[3]
  • An examination of the time spent on the computer should be part of every child's psychiatric nurse's assessment, especially when displaying aggressive behavior[3]
  • Before they are exposed to the Internet world, the principles of proper Internet conduct should be addressed with children[3]
  • In the beginning, particularly for younger children, it could be best to allow them to use/explore the Internet with parental supervision. Parental controls on the Internet, consisting of both banning or restricting children and adolescents' Internet use, have been shown to have a beneficial impact on reducing the risks associated with Internet use.[3]

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Dhawan S. Online learning: A panacea in the time of COVID-19 crisis. J Educ Technol Syst 2020;49:5-22.  Back to cited text no. 1
Jain,Nehal. 'Concerns Prevail Over Impact of Online Education on Children's Health. 'G plus. Jan.10.2021. Retrieved https://www.guwahatiplus.com/article-detail/concerns-prevailo v e r-imp a c t- o f- o n li n e - e d u c a ti o n - o n - c h il d r e n -s health.  Back to cited text no. 2
Aggarwal S, Karande S. Internet for child mental health: Boon or bane. J Postgrad Med 2018;64:131-3.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Bhatt S. Kids, The Pandemic & A Mental Health Challenge. Economic Times 2021.  Back to cited text no. 4


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