How To Combat Adverse Side Effects Of Virtual Learning

Friday, August 13th 2021, 5:25 am
By: Kelsey Kernstine


The recent surge in COVID 19 cases has increased the demand for virtual learning here in Oklahoma and across the country. 

However, virtual learning may have an adverse effect on children’s ability to learn. 

According to research, nearsightedness is on the rise worldwide and experts blame the phenomenon on increased time in front of computers, phones, and TVs. 

“Computer vision syndrome” causing strain to the eye, is another problem that could affect your child's ability to learn. 

Dr. Ryan Brown, an Emergency Pediatrician with OU Health, said he’s mostly concerned with the secondary side effects of screentime like, 

"The headaches, the nausea, the inattention and really not be able to focus is the reason we get concerned about the prolonged screentime." 

Dr. Ryan Brown said a good way to determine if your child is suffering through virtual learning is to watch their grades. "If they've gone from an A- student, to a C- student, then it's not working." 

But there are ways to improve learning under the circumstances. 

“Use the big screen in your living room to put on the classroom instead of a 13-inch screen,” said Brown. 

Brown also adds a clever way to increase attention span is to pace out subjects in different rooms in the house, like math in the living-room and English in the kitchen. 

He also said taking breaks is so important for children. Stand up, stretch your legs, stretch your mind, and relax your eyes. 

Brown said get an eye exam if headaches are a problem and for blue light issues from devices or try blue light glasses or filter software. 

Research shows overexposure to blue light may cause harm to your child's retina but encouraging your child to get outside more may help to fix the problem. 

Dr. Demvihin Ihyembe, an OU Health Child Behavioral Medicine Special said the academic, social and emotional benefits of kids being around their peers is immeasurable. 

"There they have teachers who can actually under new math and core math, they have friends to support them and lean on and maybe the world doesn’t feel as scary when you have people around them,” Dr. Ihyembe said. 

OU Doctors said it is vital that kids get masked up and “vaxxed-up” so we can get them back to a learning environment with their peers.