• Rhea Brashear

Use of Computers for Education During Covid-19

As an educator and developmental advocate all the use of virtual learning has me quietly pondering what is really happening to our younger students as we look towards fall 2020. Undoubtedly every parent in our nation was hoping for some kind of normalcy in our world after a tumultuous end to the first part of school in the spring. Now, so many families are making choices for virtual learning and on-line streaming of classes that seem so unlike any other back-to-school season before.

We have all become accustomed to going on-line for everything from shopping to socializing that perhaps returning to school will seem ..."normal." But I have not heard in all this talk about children wearing masks to school if they attend in person, staying home for school for rigorous hours of virtual classes, about the loss of developmental opportunities for children.

Digital learning does open many doors for learning that it is impossible to think of a contemporary classroom with out them. My primary concern is the way digital screens skew the neurological development of the young child’s brain. At the time when preschool and elementary children should be organizing their motor development to coordinate eye muscles for near and far vision, they are using computers for extended periods of time. Using these screen frequently puts them in distorted head/body postures as well as creating over-convergent eye patterns. These are direct contributors to the emergent problems of increases in ADHD and other learning disabilities.

There is no way around it, more children will be using digital screens for learning this year. Perhaps parents can take time to make sure their children get time away from the screen after school and frequent visual breaks while using the screen each day. Consider asking your local optometrist for some ideas about simple eye exercises you and your children can do to reduce screen fatigue. The best way to combat the effects of too much screen time is have active play time that engages the vestibular system in coordination with the visual system. The vestibular system is crucial for many functions of the central nervous system and is the core focus of my work as a developmental specialist.

we can not forget the traditional wisdom about the needs of children even if we have to change to accommodate the high -tech world.

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