How The Virtual Classes Are A Major Contribution To Poor Mental Health?

by Mohmod Irfan Shah

If anyone is given a cell phone for 12 hours, it won’t make him/ her feel better in any way. It’s obvious that in the long run, it’s going to affect our eyes and in turn, it is going to make us unhealthy.

Unfortunately, when the pandemic hit globally no one knew when it will vanish. Countries chose ‘lockdown’ as the only option so that it doesn’t spread much and it seemed to be the only way out to limit the spread of the disease. Still, more than 19.7 crore people are infected to date, out of which 19.2 survived and it’s still counting.

During this pandemic people lost their lives, jobs, social life, family, and a majority of people wasted their time without their will. This concern arose, so the future of students was at stake too, since all educational institutions were closed for on-campus classes. Authorities decided to go for online classes via Zoom, WebEx, Google Meet etc and nobody knows when this will continue. It has been around 16 months that the classes are being taken virtually.

Major Problems

Firstly, isn’t it difficult for a student to manage six hours of online classes and doing basic household chores? Keeping the phone in one hand and doing household chores with the other was never a concern for his/her parents or teaching staff. It’s obvious that the classwork would not stop for one student, so he/she has to manage it all together.

Secondly, students not having access to android phones, and a good internet connection; has anyone approached them? No! They are left depressed about what’s actually going on in these virtual classes, as they have no way to attend these online classes. Every time they fail to attend classes, submit assignments, with zero per cent attendance and they need to borrow a phone or even an internet connection to appear in online exams. Nobody is concerned about them, which in turn leaves them with no choice, other than just waiting for this pandemic to end.

Put On Camera!

One of the major concerns in virtual Classes is turning on your camera and microphone. When the teacher suddenly asks a student to turn on his/her camera and microphone, it isn’t as easy as it seems to be, you have to be ready to face criticism, it’s obvious you feel uglier than others, having messy hair, sleepy eyes, showing your personal space. It is obvious and understandable that we all are afraid of being judged by our physical appearance, afraid of those “bullies” who capture screenshots and then these screenshots revolve in the class groups, being teased, is what adds more to the deterioration of the already ailing student community. It is not easy for anyone to come up like this in a virtual world. At times, when a teacher asks you a question and you are speechless, with no appropriate answer, meanwhile thinking what others are thinking about you right now.

While being in a virtual class, you are supposed to be alone in your room to stay more focused. Being alone in a room for six hours, attending online classes, we start feeling bad about the static life we have been surviving in, since the beginning of this pandemic. One class ends and the others are already in the queue. It’s obvious that when you are alone, you think more and this is what leads to silent depression with no one to listen to your worries.

Apart from all of this, while the students are already having a hard time in attending online classes, making notes, submitting assignments, maintaining attendance, waiting for date sheets with no other curricular activities, seminars have turned to webinars with no outdoor activity. All the stuff, students used to do outdoors has been pushed in this so-called “smartphone”. How is it possible that any student will be comfortable with it? Humans are termed as social animals, and socializing is a very important part of our lives, but unfortunately, we all are focused on the rising COVID-19 cases but not the mental health of students.

Virtually Greek

Adding one more concern to the list is that, Is it possible for a student to understand 100% of the topic in a virtual class? The e-books were introduced to save paper, but these virtual classes aren’t able to save our education. Students hardly understand 50% of what is being taught because of which students fail to get a good percentage (of marks, as well as understanding). And we all are well aware of how Indian parents react to the low grades of their children. Also, in this competitive world when you get low grades, you lose many opportunities in your future which in turn will add more to the mental disturbance of a student.

And last but not the least, using a phone for six hours to attend virtual classes and then making notes from the same phone for another four to six hours with no rest in between, isn’t possible for a normal human being. If anyone is given a cell phone for 12 hours, it won’t make him/ her feel better in any way. It’s obvious that in the long run, it’s going to affect our eyes and in turn, it is going to make us unhealthy.

Mental Crisis

Some of the known cases of suicide, linked to the online mode of teaching have been mentioned below. But it’s really unfortunate that they were not highlighted like any other suicide cases.

M Irfan Shah

According to a news article reported by India Today (Akshaya Nath), a class 11 student from Tamil Nadu ended his life, after failing to cope with the pressure of online classes, one more girl from the same state ended her life after getting into an argument over sharing the mobile phone with her sisters for virtual classes and in June, a 12-year-old schoolgirl from Gujarat’s Rajkot died by suicide after being frustrated with online classes and homework. Her father had recently bought her a Smartphone for the online classes after much struggle. There are many cases like this, some of them just came on social media for a day or two, and others were just dumped. I saw no one raising a voice against it, no one talked about it, no one showed any sort of concern regarding it, and obviously, no action was taken to find alternative ways of “socializing” and getting an education.

In the end, I leave a question for all the readers out there that are these so-called “smartphones” sharing their smartness with us? Or are they turning us into a slave of “tech giants”, hence making us dumber and more dependable on them.

(The author is a student of SSM College of Engineering, Parihaspora, pursuing BE (Civil Engineering) and is in his second year. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Kashmir Life.)


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