Perhaps the most distinguishing character of this generation is our usage of electronics and gadgets. With days getting more fast-paced, education is changing too. Today, we see that virtual studying has become the new trend. Children are often taught different subjects through the use of gadgets. Majority of the classes, children are required to do their assignments by researching on the internet. While in theory this seems great, it is of utmost important to ask ourselves- in the bigger picture, is virtual studying really benefiting them or not?
The Pros of Virtual Studying
There are several advantages of virtual studying. First of all, now that we have the something called the internet, we are connected to vast amounts of information all over the world. Children have access to as much information that they could possibly need. There are various different kinds of resources that can help them understand concepts better. For example, in the olden days, all we had in the name of resources were books. But now, children have access to videos, animations, audio-you name it! Today there are several educational apps that can easily be downloaded. These apps keep children interested and engaged, and many a times the child can operate the app all by him/herself.
Through virtual studying, children are also exposed to more languages and cultures. So they can learn to be more appreciative of others and may also easily learn various languages. With the amounts of online courses increasing, gone are the days of children not taking classes because there are no teachers nearby. Video gaming as even been shown to improve hand-eye coordination and decision-making.
The Cons of Virtual Studying
Mobile phone addiction can today be called an epidemic. Every year, there are more and more cases of cellphone addiction. This is a dire consequence of virtual learning because it can lead to several other conditions. Psychologically, excessive cellphone usage has been shown to cause something called a “Tired All the Time Syndrome”. Children may experience depression and be very socially awkward due to lack of human interaction. Prolonged use of technology during childhood has also shown to cause loss of memory and lack of imaginative abilities.
Children using gadgets excessively have also shown developmental defects which has persisted even up to adulthood. Children are beginning to adopt extremely sedentary lifestyles, which in the long term is bound to produce detrimental effects to his/her mind, heart and body. Along with all of this, children using technology are also at higher risk of developing vision and spinal problems as they are staring into the screen in the same position for long periods of time. Lack of time management is another common trait seen in people overusing technology.
The Take-Away Message
Although virtual learning can be fruitful for children, it is definitely better for children to be outdoors and learn through nature. Being outside and socializing teaches children to empathize with others and make connections. With all five senses being used, being outdoors can vastly improve a child’s development. While it is okay to use technology in moderation for studies, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children under 18 months to not use gadgets at all. They suggest children below 5 years of age to have lesser than an hour of screen-time per day. Make sure you restrict the amount of time your child is spending with their gadgets. Make time for them, read to them, take them places- they are our children, our future generation- and we owe them at least this much.