The COVID-19 outbreak has interrupted learning in more than one hundred countries and impacted billions of students worldwide. Many governments responded by implementing some open and distance learning. These were aimed at involving all learners but were not entirely effective. Online learning offers several benefits but also presents significant obstacles. Online learning’s temporal flexibility makes the learning experience more pleasant for students.
Nevertheless, remote learning inhibits student participation in actual classroom events. Furthermore, learners miss peer interaction impact, which is crucial for personality development. Although online learning presents several drawbacks to children, including difficulty accessing stable internet and decreased interaction, it also has benefits such as offering several study courses and lowering the cost of studying.
For any online learning platform to be effective, students must have stable internet connection access. Due to financial or logistical grounds, inaccessibility can prevent potentially qualified children from attending the classes (Alsop & Bencze, 2020). This is a significant problem in middle-low socioeconomic status communities. Moreover, from an institutional standpoint, learners are lost as clients if they cannot pay for the online learning tools the school uses (Tadesse & Muluye, 2020). Web access is not widespread, and in certain regions of Canada, internet connectivity is too expensive for users. Children who use e-learning devices for online education may experience eye strain. Thus, this indicates that students’ prolonged use of gadgets such as Digital Eye Strain (DES) can result in eye issues. DES can cause complications like blurred vision, itchy eyes, and headaches (Sheppard & Wolffsohn, 2018). Such problems may impact learners’ abilities to attend classes regularly, consequently affecting their performance. This demonstrates that the conventional way of utilizing blackboards is superior since all children gain equally and without difficulty. Due to the pandemic, most schoolchildren use smartphones to attend online tutorials, which greatly increases their risk of eye strain since few maintain the optimal viewing distance (Mohan et al., 2021). Instances like this make it clear that online learning is unsuitable for young children.
Unlike in-class learning, online learning makes it hard for professors to impart important concepts such as the value of collaboration and conflict resolution. It is difficult to convey such concepts to children since they only see their classmates in tiny boxes through applications such as Zoom or Google Meet. Further, it is challenging for instructors and students to develop bonds and discuss their difficulties outside the classroom (Masters & Barr, 2009). In addition, educating young children online is laborious since they must be taught to understand and decode key digital phrases, which can be laborious. Similarly, some students, for example, preschoolers, may not be ready for online learning since they often need much mobility and exploration. These activities cannot be performed remotely, especially since it is technically challenging for teachers to guide their activities and behaviors remotely. Additionally, students are exposed to many risks, such as unwarranted tracking. According to studies, children are unaware of cyber safety; consequently, for them to use contemporary technology, they need prolonged parental guidance, unlike in the classroom, where the teacher constantly instructs all students on what to do (Masters & Barr, 2009). Several trackers follow students throughout the duration spent online and beyond their digital classrooms. Children are sometimes marked and fingerprinted in ways that are difficult to prevent or remove. Other web-based learning platforms sell private data to tech businesses for advertisement purposes. Some businesses may do this by using behavioral marketing to target kids. These businesses skew children’s online interactions and risk impacting their thoughts and views.
Children are now more likely to be exposed to violent activity. The emergence of online education can lead to an increase in child sexual exploitation and abuse (Lau & Lee, 2021). Those who commit crimes against minors use deception to keep them from talking to trusted family members, friends, teachers, or caregivers. They can either make the youngster feel special and reassure them that their acts will not be revealed, or they can make them feel humiliated and threaten them with punishment if they do not comply with the rules. Without adult supervision, a child may be or feel pressured, forced, or coerced into taking and sharing explicit images with their peers or online strangers. Although online learning exposes children to risks such as unwarranted trafficking, child sexual abuse, and straining eyes, it also has several merits, including decreasing the cost of study and offering several study courses. Typically, online education portals provide a selection of courses in many career fields (Dumford and Miller, 2018). That implies registering for the chosen course online is more convenient. One may get a professional certificate, a diploma, a bachelor’s degree, or even a master’s degree via online education. Additionally, many courses offered via online education are often relatively more affordable than those provided by conventional educational institutions. The expenditures associated with online classes, including tuition fees and other charges, are often more affordable (Dumford and Miller, 2018). If one chooses to take online classes, one cannot worry about commuting or finding housing close to their institution of higher learning. Thus, this may lead to considerable cost savings for their education while allowing them to take advantage of high-quality online learning.
In conclusion, traditional learning in a classroom setting is a method that outperforms the use of digital platforms for education, particularly for young people. The classroom setting is far more beneficial to the development of children’s minds than independent study at home. The use of distance learning might make it more difficult to participate in activities that occur in a traditional classroom setting. This occurs as a result of children of different socioeconomic origins interacting with one another, cooperating, and sharing their abilities.
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Mohan, A., Sen, P., Shah, C., Jain, E., & Jain, S. (2021). Prevalence and risk factor assessment of digital eye strain among children using online e-learning during the COVID-19 pandemic: Digital eye strain among kids (DESK study-1). Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, 69(1), 140. Web.
Sheppard, A. L., & Wolffsohn, J. S. (2018). Digital eye strain: Prevalence, measurement and amelioration. BMJ Open Ophthalmology, 3(1), e000146. Web.
Tadesse, S., & Muluye, W. (2020). The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on education system in developing countries: A review. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 8(10), 159-170. Web.
Dumford, A.D. and Miller, A.L. (2018). Online learning in higher education: Exploring advantages and disadvantages for engagement. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 30(3), pp.452–465. Web.