Since the start of quarantine, we knew that something was gonna change, but we didn’t know that one of the things we’re so familiar with would affect us this way. Because we can’t have face to face classes, we are taking them on zoom and other digital platforms, but you already knew that, what you probably don’t know is how excessive screen time is affecting us. Most schools that have online classes in the Dominican Republic have around 4 to 7 hours of virtual school. As a consequence, many students are complaining of headaches, eye soreness, and tiredness overall. All of this is most certainly caused by the elevated screen-time spent by the students.
Looking at a computer screen for such an extended amount of time could cause what’s called “Computer Vision Syndrome”. The symptoms that possibly come with this are: dry eyes and/or strained, blurred vision, and, as I mentioned before, headaches. Not only is the computer screen affecting us, but it’s also the position we are in while looking at it. Having a bad posture, as you probably know, can cause severe back, shoulder, and neck pain.
Now let’s talk solutions, the one that makes the most sense to me is the asynchronous work time, this is when the teacher assigns a task or homework and each student does it by themselves, and if any of them has any questions, the teacher should be attentive to respond in this period of time. In my opinion, this is the most logical solution because it doesn’t take too much moving around and it just makes sense.
Another thing that could help is to give longer breaks, currently, most schools have breaks from 30 minutes to 45, I would suggest that they make this to about an hour, that would give enough time for your eyes to really relax and recover, also the increased break could give you time to do some asynchronous work as well as recover.
Some tips I can give you are that in between these brakes you should take a moment offscreen and walk around or meditate. Now for the posture, most people when looking at their computer screens don’t sit up straight and always have their eye level downwards, you just need to have your screen at eye level height and the chair at the correct height so when you are typing your arms and shoulders feel relaxed and in a natural position. In conclusion, even though we are in a new and different situation we can still make the best of it.