Since the time schools reopened in 2020, across the country education has shifted to online classes. To maintain safety protocols, educational institutes were required to continue having classes digitally so that students do not lag behind with their studies. The consequences of stopping classes till in-person teaching was possible would have been too much of a burden, both on the children and the educational system. So the decision to continue classes virtually was a necessary one, ensuring that children have some semblance of routine as well as maintain continuous progress with their schooling. While necessary, online classes can also take a toll on your child. Mentally, not being together with their classmates might have some social and psychological effects down the line. Similarly, not being present in the same room as their teachers and professors might lead to difficulties understanding and retaining knowledge. A more immediate issue, and one you can help to safeguard against, is eye-strain caused by online classes. Let's find out how to solve this issue:
Not Too Bright, Not Too Dull
When it comes to best practices for spending a lot of time in front of a screen (whether phone or computer), keeping your display at an optimum brightness is vital. Too much screen brightness can end up having large contrast from the surrounding environment which can lead to your eyes working hard to stay adjusted. Too dull, and the eyes need to work extra hard to focus and make sense of whatever is being displayed, this stresses out your eyes and can lead to strain. Taking into account the immediate surroundings, adjust the screen brightness on the display being used by your child so that it is at a level where it’s easy to read without being overly bright.
The other side of this equation is ensuring proper lighting conditions in the room where your child will be attending their online classes. Don’t use direct lighting as this can cause eye-strain as well, instead make sure the display (whether PC monitor, laptop or tablet) is not facing any direct sunlight or artificial light source. Direct light on a screen can cause a glaring effect which in turn can lead to strain or even headaches. Similarly, since most online classes will require your child to have their video camera on, ensure that they are not coming directly between a light source, webcams tend to darken in such conditions and lead to poor quality video. In short, keep the room well lit with indirect lighting (or sunlight), and ensure that no screen glare is taking place.
Although this one is highly dependent on your child's daily schedule, it is very important that they get several minutes of break from all screens, especially between classes. They should take this time to relax their eyes, and try to focus on faraway objects for a few minutes. In case your child is experiencing some form of eye-strain or lethargy and the classes are too long, speak with their teachers and discuss it with them. Taking regular breaks from screen time is the most important tip for maintaining good eye health for online classes and even for working professionals.
Keep these tips and pointers in mind before setting up for your child's next online class. If you already have a fixed setup and routine in place, review it in light of these facts and adjust it to keep your little one’s eyes safe. Eye-strain can lead to mild headaches, loss of focus and in really bad lighting situations it can also affect eyesight. It is important to check with your child if they are experiencing any vision issues during this time, symptoms may include eye pain, inability to focus easily, headaches, blurry vision and poor eyesight. Seek medical attention if these symptoms do not get better with rest. In case it wasn’t obvious, these guidelines can also be beneficial to all people who work in front of screens daily for long durations. So feel free to share these recommendations with others as well and help them to stay safe.