Maira has been using her mother’s cell phone since morning as she has to contact her classmates to discuss their upcoming presentation. Her father rebuked her several times about this overuse of screens, nonetheless, she argues it as her necessity now. This trend of using screens for educational purposes becomes more obvious following Covid-19. Amid this global pandemic, the mode of learning changed from traditional classroom-based to online home-based. Though it has been more than a year now since the resumption of face-to-face education, the use of electronic gadgets for learning is still prevalent. This use brought various changes which are discussed below.
Firstly, school-going children spend a lot of their time on screens arguing that they are interacting with teachers or classmates for school-related tasks. Hence, the student's use of mobile phones to interact with classmates for presentations, projects, homework, etc, surged. Moreover, it has become trending among school-going kids now to send their leave applications digitally instead of writing them formally on a paper sheet. Likewise, the trend of studying from digital books and the internet is dominating. Similarly, students do not pay full attention to the instructions of teachers in the classroom which later led them to contact digitally for clarification. Along with this transformation in the behavior of students, there comes a prominent change in institutional behavior too. Before Covid-19, syllabi, dare sheets, fee slips, worksheets, etc, were given to students in printed form. Nowadays, students are usually given these documents in a digital form in their relevant class WhatsApp groups. Teachers too sometimes teach less during classroom hours and urge students to learn conceptual ideas through YouTube, etc. Though the use of electronic gadgets by children has already been there even before Covid-19, the pandemic added fuel to fire. However, this trend is more obvious in urban regions and towns because of the better availability of electronic gadgets. Rural areas have not yet witnessed that trend due to the lack of technology. This overuse of screens has various implications. Though it facilitated learning to a great extent, it has brought negative outcomes too which outweigh the benefits. The major disadvantage of this trend is the growing addiction to screens among teenagers. Its negative effects on physical and mental health are the most dangerous as these gadgets weaken eyesight and damage physical fitness and mentality. Moreover, it wastes the precious time of youngsters and diverts their focus. Likewise, the teachers' personal lives get affected too as they have to be available for students even after school hours. Students prefer inquiring about lessons through texting and phone calls rather than physically during the classroom which reduces their confidence to talk face-to-face. Whatever the reasons for this growing screen addiction are, Covid-19 is surely the most obvious one as it has forced even those students to use screens who have never done it before. Thus, this screen addiction results in several negative outcomes. It must be noted that using a screen for educational purposes has never been a necessity and it does not guarantee a student's better performance. It is therefore necessary for parents to keep their children away from the screen as much as possible. They must put a limit on screen time to check its unbridled use. Likewise, teachers must teach their best in classrooms to avoid messing up with students after school hours. Though it takes time to completely return to the pre-pandemic learning habits, practicing them right from today can be fruitful.