Facing a Lack of Faces in Online Learning

Editorial Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the staff writer of this editorial article do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Journalism class nor those of Caledonia High School and Caledonia Community Schools and their official policies. This article is student work that expresses an individual student’s opinions as they develop their writing and communication skills as young journalists. The author of each article published on this web site owns their own words.

As the world experiences a global pandemic, schools across the country have been forced to switch to online learning to finish the remainder of the school year. What may not be obvious is the negative effects online schooling has, not only for students finishing their year online, but also for the people who take online classes year round. Online learning causes issues to society, including the amount of time spent looking at screens and the amount of self direction required from students. 

First, online school means all aspects of obtaining credit are transferred to online resources.  Looking at a computer screen all day can have negative effects on our body. One effect is known as computer vision syndrome, which comes from looking at a bright screen for too long. This can permanently damage a person’s vision by causing nearsightedness. Usually students are looking at electronics or watching TV for a certain amount of time each day, but adding online learning at least doubles the screen time. This is where the issues come into play; according to Business Insider, a study done on kids’ brains found those who spent more screen time per day had a thinner cortex (which processes the five senses) than those who spent less time on a screen. This data also showed the negative effect on thinking and language skills for kids who spent more time on their screens per day. Online schooling is causing kids and teens to spend more time on their screens each day, which has a negative effect on their brain short and long term. 

Second, distant learning leads to little to no face to face interaction between people. When school is taken online, there is no need to have face to face meetings with teachers or conversations with students in the class. Face to face communication and interaction is very important for the human body. One advantage of face to face communication is being more comfortable in the workforce. It will be easier to interact with co-workers and have more trust in others, as stated on Australian Institution of Business. Having engaging conversations with others will help one to grow as a person and problem solve and work with others easier. These are all skills that are needed at some point in life to be successful businessmen and women. Another benefit of face to face interaction shown in recent studies is that it reduces the risk of depression, especially in people of a younger age according to Psychology Today. People who had more face to face interactions rather than over the phone had a lesser chance of showing signs of depression. Having these face to face interactions at a young age allows people to feel more comfortable and normal in daily life, leading them in a good direction for the workforce and decreasing the risk of developing depression. 

In conclusion, Online learning is bad for students due to the amount of screen time it requires and there is little to no face to face interaction. Remote learning can put a setback on brain development in kids, take away from socialization skills needed in the workforce, and increase the risk of developing depression. What is one thing we could do to increase our face to face interaction while still keeping social distant guidelines in mind? 

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