What are the Health Issues of Online Learning?
Online learning is a very convenient way of studying, as it allows students to take classes and complete courses from anywhere in the world. The current pandemic has made virtual learning even more necessary, as social distancing measures require people to stay away from each other. However, there are a lot of health issues of online learning that come up.
Some people worry about the impact that being in front of a screen all day might have on our eyesight and overall health. Others are concerned about the social isolation that can happen when we’re stuck in front of a computer instead of interacting with other people.
What are the top 8 health issues of online learning to expect from children studying from home, and how can you overcome them? Here are a few insights.
Top 8 Health Issues of Online Learning
Online learning can be a great experience for children, but there are some health risks to consider. Here are eight of the top issues:
1. Anxiety and Depression from Isolation
Online learning reduces the number of hours students spend with educators and peers. Learners spend most of their day at home, studying through the computer. Even though it is convenient, spending a lot of time alone can cause anxiety and ultimately result in depression.
Online learners still have an opportunity to interact with other students through social media and other apps. They play together, share emotions, and discuss during physical interactions. Such activities help in the creation of a social bond in the lives of students. Virtual video calls can’t replace the need for physical contact with peers.
Online students can avoid anxiety and depression due to isolation resulting from online learning by:
- Create room for physical engagements. Learners should be allowed to meet twice a week, albeit for a few hours. This will assist them in bonding, building an institutional culture, and working on collaborative projects.
- Create a schedule away from the computer. It is important to get away from your laptop, computer, or any other gadget you are using to learn online.
- Create a schedule away from computers- it takes personal initiative to get away from the computer or gadgets you are using to study. Make sure to leave some free time in your schedule to explore the grounds, play with friends or take a stroll outdoors.
- Develop a rich routine- Don’t be stuck at home learning and eating. Developing a routine that makes you feel like you have a purpose in life can help improve your mental health. Try to include exercise, yoga, and a set bedtime in your routine. Doing personal projects like blogging or playing music can also help fill up the extra time you have between classes.
Make sure to take care of your physical and mental health while studying at home. Create a space that is inspiring and where you will be able to focus for the entire day. Finally, stay engaged and productive to avoid feeling anxious or depressed.
2. Poor Diet and Physical Health
According to research, poor diet is one of the main reasons for reduced concentration and eventually leads to weight gain. The unhealthy eating habits of students are more prevalent when they learn from home. With easy access to the kitchen, students often indulge in processed snacks and sugary drinks.
When you are not moving around, it is easy to overeat or make poor food choices. It is essential to be mindful of what you are eating and drinking while you study from home.
Here are some tips to help you maintain a healthy diet:
- Plan your meals in advance and have healthy snacks within reach.
- Do not skip meals, especially breakfast. Eat regularly to avoid getting hungry (irritable due to hunger).
- Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.
- Choose nutritious foods that will help you concentrate and boost your energy levels.
- Avoid sugary drinks, caffeine, and alcohol.
- Make sure you get enough sleep to avoid fatigue.
3. Poor Posture and Back Pain
When you are hunched over a laptop for long hours, it takes a toll on your posture and eventually leads to back pain. The lack of movement also slows down the blood circulation in your body, leading to tiredness and headaches.
To avoid such problems:
- Take regular breaks to walk around and stretch your body.
- Invest in a comfortable chair and desk that would support your back while you study.
- Place the laptop at eye level to avoid neck strain.
4. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes pain, tingling, and numbness in the hand and forearm. It is caused by the compression of the median nerve in the wrist. The symptoms are worse at night and can disrupt your sleep. This condition is common among students who type a lot while studying.
To avoid carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Take breaks between long typing sessions.
- Do some wrist and hand exercises to keep the muscles flexible.
- Use ergonomic keyboards and mice to reduce strain on the wrists.
5. Eye Problems from Extended Screen Time
Online learning means that you will be using computers, laptops, tablets, and phones for your studies. Class sessions will be held every day and all day for the week. This leaves no time for other activities like entertainment or personal projects. This can lead to spending too much time on screens, which is bad for your eyes.
Experts recommend that people should only spend two hours looking at screens each day. However, many people now have to spend the whole day looking at screens for work or school. This can be damaging to our health, but there are some ways we can reduce the amount of time we spend looking at screens. Try following these tips from experts to help reduce your screen time and the damage it may cause:
- Choose gadgets that have adjustable features like light and contrast. This will help protect your eyes.
- Use gadgets at a safe distance. Keeping gadgets at a distance makes it safer to use them for a longer period of time. Invest in remote keyboards, mice, and other control gadgets. This way, your eyes will not strain from being too close to the screen.
- Utilize special screen glasses. They are recommended for persons who already have eye problems. The glasses will protect your eyes from extended exposure to glare.
- To reduce eye strain, use more natural lighting when studying. For example, sit near a window or study outdoors. This will help to dilute the glare from screens and keep your eyes safe.
It is important to check your eyes regularly in case of any problems. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent the problem from getting worse.
6. Obesity from Too Much Sitting and Eating
When you’re studying at home, it’s easy to have access to food and not get much exercise, which can lead to gaining weight.
What should you do?
- It is important to watch your diet and eat healthy foods even when you are not able to move around much or have low energy. This can be done by planning your meals and considering your reduced activity level.
- Start by exercising regularly and go to yoga classes to help improve your weight. Watch your body weight carefully to see the effects of these changes.
- One way to make sure you don’t overeat is to establish a regular eating schedule. This way, you won’t be as tempted to eat when you’re bored or when food is available. Having a routine will help keep you on track and prevent you from overeating.
7. Irregular Sleep from the Comfortable Indoor Space
It can be difficult to stay productive when it feels like you can just take a nap anytime since your bed or couch is so close. This can mess with your motivation, especially when it comes to taking the initiative. How can you deal with this challenge?
- Develop a sleep schedule that requires you to only be in bed at night. This will help your body adjust to a regular sleep cycle and improve your overall sleep quality.
- To avoid sleeping in, plan activities for outside the bedroom. This will create less temptation to sleep and help you stay awake.
- Make sure to stay active even when you’re indoors. This will help keep you healthy and fit.
If you don’t get regular sleep, it can lead to mental health problems like anxiety and depression. It can also cause physical health problems like obesity and make it harder to be productive.
8. Muscle and Joint Rigidity from too Much Sitting
It is important to find ways to stay active, even if you are indoors. Spending too much time in a confined space can have a negative impact on your health, both physically and mentally. You can try improvising a home gym, getting outside for a walk, or some fresh air. Swimming is also a great way to get all of your muscles moving.
When studying in confined spaces, it is important to monitor your health and create a schedule that allows you to exercise. Taking breaks to soak in the sun and socialize with people in your neighborhood can also help improve your wellbeing.
These are just a few of the potential health concerns that come with online learning. As a parent, it’s important to be aware of these risks so you can help your child avoid them.
Although online learning has many benefits, it is important to be aware of the potential health risks. Students who spend too much time in front of a screen can experience anxiety and depression from isolation, poor diet and physical health from lack of exercise, and carpal tunnel syndrome from extended use of the mouse and keyboard.
Health issues of online learning discussed in this post include eye problems, obesity, irregular sleep patterns, and muscle and joint pain from sitting for long periods.
If you are concerned about your child’s health while attending an online high school program, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today. We would be happy to discuss these issues with you and help you find the best solution for your family.