Kids and Digital Screens, Should They Have Allowance As Much As Adults?
Since Covid-19 virus spread around the globe last year, there has been a broad shift in our normalities. We change our ways in living, working, studying, socialising, and even praying. This pandemic has brought us to a new normal all of sudden. Usually face masks are only used by health workers or people who live in unhealthy environments (air that bring full of dust that is visible to our eyes). However these days, we must wear face masks every single day and especially when you go outside, to prevent a virus that is not visible, flying through us and going inside our respiratory system.
As stated above, our ways of studying must also change due to this pandemic. Kids usually go to school, sitting in class, socialising with friends, listening to the teacher, having lunch in the canteen, and playing around while waiting for their parents to pick them up in the afternoon, but suddenly it changed. Kids don’t go outside their homes, teachers aren't allowed to go to school either, and schools are forced to close to prevent the virus from spreading.
Schools have transformed into digital. Classes are conducted online, students and their teacher are meeting face-to-face, but through digital screens; virtually. It seems like in future sci-fi movies that classes are online, while students learn from a robot or an AI that teaches you lessons, but it seems natural nowadays because we have to do that, or at least because the teachers are not robots, yet.
Starting from March 2020, schools around the world have been struggling to shift their offline classes to online classes. Most of the difficulties that we have been facing, lack of smartphone or laptop ownership. Middle class families in Indonesia usually have their Android or iPhones, but exclusively for parents; and so are laptops. Devices are essential to parents’ occupations, but suddenly their 7-year-old boy needs that too for his education. Later, another difficulty arose. The internet in Indonesia is based on quota, and as far as we know, virtual meeting apps like Zoom or Google Meet are a quota-monster. They ate up to hundreds of MB of data for a 40-minutes session.
However those problems have been solved. Al-Amjad has conducted a blended online and offline learning, through papers that replace online meetings. These papers act as an alternative learning material for those who do not have a spare smartphone for their kids. As for the quota-problem, the Ministry of Education has been delivering GBs of data each month for students and teachers as long as their numbers are registered on the Ministry database.
On the other hand, a new debate has been rising. Do digital screens safe for our students' eyes? How many hours are they allowed to have online meetings every day? What is the standard? There are examples of questions that pop out in every parent's mind, especially in kindergarten or primary students.
Those questions aren't ironic though, health and safety measures have significantly gone to the first page, and that not only focused only on covid-19, but also in general health. Parents are worrying about their lovely kids' eyes health, as much as we know that focusing on digital screens may cause eye-strain and perhaps, much worse, using glasses because of myopia.
In order to prevent decreases in eye health, but also to maintain a productive day, Al-Amjad took a one session online and one session offline time basis. A 40 minutes online class, and afterward a 40 minutes time to do paper works, or rest. And sometimes we also change it into chat-only session through WhatsApp group or Al-Amjad Portal. Although it has not been scientifically proven, our methods are loved by parents and kids, because they have time to rest their eyes, for not doing a whole day of endless online classes.
Furthermore, there is also another way to maintain our kids eye health. Back in the old days, we gave them the freedom to play on smartphone games, computer games, or binge-watching series on television on the weekend; because weekdays are their time to study. however in this digital school time, perhaps their routines on the weekend should have been changed too. Kids aren't supposed to have freedom to play all-night-long or watch the full season of The Startup, but ask them to leave their digital screens, and have a real life.
Dads can ask them to assist you in the backyard, Moms can ask them to help you when you are cooking, or ask them to have some sports at home. Basic aerobics is enough. You don't have to play futsal or basketball just to get healthy. A quick jog in the morning or riding a bike in your neighbourhood is also good for your health.
In this pandemic era, there is no such thing as a hundred percent correct or wrong, because none of us have been through this kind of event in their life, but as a human being, we should always try to have a balanced life to survive.