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Teen health: Coping with online academics

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The otherwise tech-savvy-social media generation has found the transition to online academics daunting, leading to many experiencing anxiety, stress as well as depression

By Puja Gupta

August 25, 2020 (IANSlife) 2020 has indeed witnessed drastic changes due to the precedence of alterations that have occurred in societal functioning, triggered by the coronavirus. While many adults continue to work at home or remotely, one group of individuals is significantly affected-- youngsters, many of whom are still in school or college.

While COVID-19 did prompt distance learning through online classes, several students are finding it tough to cope with the onset of isolation - away from face to face interactions with teachers and peers. The otherwise tech-savvy-social media generation has found the transition to online academics daunting, leading to many experiencing anxiety, stress as well as depression.

As virtual learning has become the new norm, anxiety and confusion about online academics may be seen in many students. Dr. Parul Tank, consultant psychiatrist and therapist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund lists down some of the common problems faced by students studying online and to how to reduce anxiety as well as the stress of being socially isolated during the ongoing lockdown.

 

Common problems faced by students studying online

REMAINING MOTIVATED
When home becomes a classroom students struggle to find a balance and a rhythm, or a way to stay motivated.

 

EASILY DISTRACTED AND MANAGEMENT OF TIME
Being at home, one is conditioned to think of the surroundings to be a relaxed setting; with family and other siblings around the attention span of students’ decreases. Time management is a challenge as well; students develop erratic sleep habits with the pressure to complete a project in time. Then there is also confusion and added screen timings.

 

TECHNICAL ISSUES
There is a sudden irritability during the online class sessions due to poor internet connections amongst attendees; often at times systems shut down and need to be restarted; this leads to disinterest in rejoining the lecture instantaneously.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL TRAUMA
With the current situation, many students have had to overcome the plight of dealing with either personal loss of a family member while in isolation, have found it hard to acknowledge the global situation, unable to grasp economic adversity, or witness interruption in their regular lifestyle.

 

Ways to reduce anxiety and Stress

To enhance one’s academics online, and to reduce anxiety as well as the stress of being socially isolated during the ongoing lockdown, here are some ways, suggests the expert:

 

PLAN YOUR ROUTINE
On a weekly basis, list down the important activities. Work on a daily planner to accomplish goals and priorities, set a timeline for each; share these activities with your family at home, intimate them about what you’re going to be doing and when, so that they are aware of your timetable and do not cause distractions.
However, even though life is challenging right now, it is okay to leave your work aside for a while to prioritize not only on your physical fatigue, but your mental health as well. Screen time should also be limited; make time out to catch up on one of your favorite shows or to play a fun game with the family.

 

CREATING A STUDY SPACE
Find a productive study space in your home, preferably at the table, and away from your bed. Make it comfortable; keep it tidy and customize it with colorful stationery.

 

ACCESSIBILITY TO ONLINE CLASSES
If you are facing a technical issue or internet concern, do not fret! Inform your professor about what’s happening. Stay relaxed and wait till the matter is fixed. Teachers are flexible and will understand your hardships; ask a fellow student to record the session for you to come up to speed with the rest of the class.

 

STAYING MOTIVATED
It is definitely easy to stress out when things are not moving in the right direction, or perhaps in the way you thought things will progress. Apart from academics, this is the time to rekindle a favourite hobby. Read novels, sketch or doodle, play board games, or simply stay motivated by indulging in light exercises. 

 

The role parents and teachers play during this period is crucial. However challenging it may seem, adults should monitor their kids carefully, watch out for distress signs, keep an open channel of communication to let them know that you are there for them, while giving them their space. Combating social and emotional isolation may be simplified by allowing kids to talk about their feelings and share their daily learnings. It is also important to watch out for online bullying or signs of trauma owing to the vulnerability of the online experience.

 

 

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Puja Gupta can be contacted atpuja.g@ians.in