Online classes imply education conducted via the Internet with the usage of digital devices. Such learning gradually began to gain popularity even before the COVID-19 pandemic but was not spread and prevalent. Nonetheless, over the past two years, almost all schools worldwide had to integrate online education due to the coronavirus outbreak. E-learning has become such a controversial issue since it was essential during the pandemic yet had significant drawbacks that negatively affected children’s psychological and physical well-being. Online classes are not beneficial for kids since e-learning interferes with mental health, critically reduces physical activity, and impairs young ones’ academic achievement and development.
Negative Impact on Mental Health
Maintenance of psychological health is essential for children’s growth and well-being, but online education frequently leads to concerning mental outcomes. Initially, e-learning is not a traditional and familiar way of education, and the abrupt transition to it is stressful for young ones. Children experience difficulties due to interruption to their daily routine as well as the necessity to deal with a broad amount of information (Guido et al., 2020). Online classes imply that kids should manage their time rationally and have the skills of effective self-study and time management skills.
Such new concerns are challenging for children: too much depends on themselves. Sudden heightened responsibilities and expectations lead to frustration, boredom, and loss of interest in learning (Cioruța et al., 2021). Children may experience disturbance, apathy, energy decrease, and other psychological states resulting in anxiety and depression (Guido et al., 2020). Unpleasant mental outcomes can also be caused by a lack of social interactions with peers and adults other than parents (Guido et al., 2020).
Online classes may result in social isolation and interfere with the development of communicational skills. The psychological growth of a child requires regular face-to-face communication with friends and classmates. Social interaction is necessary for every child as it contributes to adaptation to the community, recognizing different social roles, broadening horizons, and establishing healthy moral values. Lack of face-to-face communication during online classes may result in “non-integration in the community” (Cioruța et al., 2021, p. 12). Thus, e-learning may cause crucial psychological and social outcomes for children leading to the emergence of mental issues and problems with socialization.
Lack of Physical Activity
Another concerning issue about online education is the lack of physical motion since e-learning presupposes studies from home and decreased outdoor activities. Researchers suggest that children are less active when they are out of school (Guido et al., 2020). Traditional learning implies many diverse daily activities for kids, especially for younger ones. Children have physical education and spend time outdoor having energetic games with peers in the fresh air. Unfortunately, online classes do not promote appropriate healthy physical activity while requiring staying home and moving less. Lack of physical activity, in turn, leads to minor or severe health problems, such as headache, sleep disturbance, metabolic disorder, and risk of obesity (Guido et al., 2020). Online classes cannot provide children with sufficient motion activity and potentially lead to adverse physical effects and diseases.
Affecting Growth and Development
Online education does not promote an appropriate learning environment for children’s academic development. Concurrently with the mentioned psychological and physical challenges, e-learning “requires a certain skill and experience in the field of computers” (Cioruța et al., 2021, p. 11). Kids are forced to deal with inconveniences and gain that knowledge instead of focusing on their academic goals and performance. Such distractions may negatively affect children’s achievement because it is not easy to quickly become accustomed to studying from home.
Online Classes Potential Advantages
Nonetheless, there is an opposing point of view arguing that online classes are beneficial for kids. Potential advantages include freedom, flexibility, and independence with the right to individually decide how to study (Cioruța et al., 2021). The refutation for this point is that children rarely are able to make such decisions by themselves. Instead, kids are more likely to distract and prefer more engaging activities than correctly choosing the time for their studies. The next possible benefit is that e-learning allows children “to be innovative and learn new software solutions” (Cioruța et al., 2021, p. 7).
However, in the age of technological and informational progress, most kids will acquire the necessary knowledge regarding digital literacy within the framework of existing courses in traditional education. Supporters of online classes claim that such education is “easy and fun”, allowing children to learn with the help of various interactive means, such as videos, images, and presentations (Cioruța et al., 2021, p. 8). This argument is invalid since such teaching strategies are as well common in traditional education. Thus, online education has no definite and reliable advantages compared to attending a real school.
Online classes may negatively affect children’s psychological health, cause physical inactivity and decrease overall academic performance; therefore, e-learning is not beneficial for kids. Online education interferes with healthy socialization, while children experience a lack of communication with peers. In addition to adverse social outcomes, e-learning can provoke minor and severe harm for mental health up to anxiety and depression.
Remote classes imply decreased physical activity leading to diverse unpleasant health outcomes. Thus, online learning does not contribute to children’s overall development and better academic performance but force kids to experience unexpected challenges. Potential benefits of e-learning have not strong evidence as well as significant differences from the learning outcomes that traditional education has.
Cioruța, B. V., Lauran, M., Coman, M., Pop, A. L., & Lauran, A. (2021). About the benefits of adopting e-learning in the current Romanian educational system. Asian Journal of Education and Social Studies, 15(3), 1-13. Web.
Guido, C. A., Amedeo, I., Avenoso, F., Bruni, J., Zicari, A. M., Loffredo, L., & Spalice, A. (2020). Risk factors and mental health promotion strategies in children during COVID-19. Frontiers in Public Health, 8. Web.