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FICCI ARISE organises webinar on “Good Screen Time vs Bad Screen Time”

July 6, 2020

FICCI ARISE (Alliance for Re-imagining School Education) organised a webinar on ‘Good Screen Time vs Bad Screen Time’ which aimed to make a fair assessment of the nature and need of online learning. The webinar consisted of a panel of eminent speakers that included experts in the field of neuroscience psychology, medicine and cyber security.

An alumnus of Harvard University, educated in Mind, Brain and Education, Vishnu Karthik who has worked in the field of cognitive neuroscience stressed on the importance of continuity of learning in managing learning loss, maintaining rituals and routines and managing stress during the FICCI ARISE webinar. He shared that it is not the screen time that matters but the content that is consumed and the context of it that affects one’s well-being. He added that it was imperative to make a distinction between productive and unproductive screen time. Screen time where an adult is on the other side engaging children in the process of learning can not be viewed as harmful. Besides, teachers ought to be trained to ensure that these are not one sided lectures and there is a certain level of interactivity and also tasks integrated into the lesson that allow the child to work independently. In affect, it is the quality of the interaction and content that matter and not so much the time.

Dr. Ravindran a renowned education psychologist and trainer, said, “I don’t know when people started having anti-screen hysteria. Screens were there and screens will be there in the modern world. The idea is to learn how to make productive use of the technology at hand. It is not a good idea to expose children to screens, below the age of 2. However, for children above 3 years, 2-3 hours of time engaged in active learning is a suggested amount of screen time.” He also emphasised on the importance of online social interactions for children, the need for routines and structures and how it may have a positive impact on their socio-emotional health.

Apart from screen time being an issue amongst parents and children, another issue that the webinar addressed was on cyber security which was taken up by Rakshit Tandon, Cyber Security Expert. He sensitized the viewers about the digital risks faced by the children during COVID-19 and the role of digital citizenship in mitigating the exposure to cyber risk. Speaking on the topic, he said “What parents and children need to understand now is that we are all virtual or digital citizens. It is time to give children the values of digital citizenship- Responsibility, Respect, Compassion, Resilience, Integrity and creating positive digital footprints. Two words I believe should be added to the curriculum are netiquettes and digital wellness which I compliment with the word cyber hygiene. Get trained to navigate the internet highway.’’

Dr. Parul Sharma, Director and HOD, Ophthalmology, Max Healthcare highlighted that the eyes are sturdy to take all kinds of radiations, however what matters the most is when the blinking rate goes down or if the exposure to a screen is at a close distance. She added that the size of the screen matters, a laptop and computer at an arm’s length distance is intermediate and are therefore more suitable as against a tablet, book or mobile phone held closely to the eye. The best way to deal with the harmful effects is by taking enough breaks, for instance,  a 10 10 rule or the 20 20 rule, wherein after every 10 minutes one must practice shutting the eyes for 10 secs, similarly for the 20 min rule. One could also download applications to set reminders about these healthy practices. She also confirmed that screen time does not cause any long term damage to eyes.

Also read: Private Schools SOS: Interview with Manit Jain, chair FICCI Arise

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