69% parents oppose screen time limits for school activity

69% parents oppose screen time limits for school activity

NEW DELHI [Maha Media]:  69 per cent parents oppose the screen time limits for online classes proposed by the Government, as per a survey by LocalCircles.

Many parents have suggested that the limits should be higher and a separate category should be created for classes 6-8, as the curriculum and requirements of this group is different than those in primary school. Many parents want an increase the proposed screen time limits for online classes.

An 18 per cent parents said that the optimal time limit for online classes for classes 9-12 is 5 hours, 31 per cent said 4 hours, while 49 per cent said 3 hours. The Government has currently recommended 3 hours which means 49% parents want the limits extended.

Schools across the country have been closed for over 4 months now, with no estimates on when they would reopen. To bridge the gap, schools from across the country started conducting online classes for students which have been running well for majority of the school. The increased screen time and its effects on children is however an issue that some parents have been concerned about.

The Ministry of Human Resource Development recently came out with a fresh set of guidelines for online classes conducted by schools, limiting the on-screen time as well as the number of sessions per day.

To get a parent perspective on how long these online classes should be, Local Circles conducted a survey across the country and received 21,322 votes, which included responses from 239 districts of the country. MHRD, Government of India has recommended states to limit daily screen time for online school classes to classes 9-12 at 3 hours, classes 1-8 at 1.5 hours, pre-primary at 30 minutes with parents. Parents were asked what according to them is the best solution to this.

For classes 6-8, 18 per cent parents said the optimal time limit should be 4 hours, 31 per cent said 3 hours, 2 per cent said 2.5 hours, and 29 per cent said 1.5 hours. The Government has currently proposed 1.5 hours and 69% parents feel that they should be extended.

For classes 1-5, 18 per cent parents said time limit should be 3 hours, 38 per cent said 2 hours, and 42 per cent said 1.5 hours. Here again, the Government has proposed 1.5 hours and 56 per cent parents want the duration of online classes to be extended.

For pre-primary students, 56 per cent parents feel the optimal time duration would be 1 hour while 42 per cent said it would be 30 minutes. Again, here the Government has proposed 30 minutes and 56 per cent want it extended.

An earlier poll conducted by Local Circles had revealed that majority parents do not want the schools to restart till atleast their district and its 20 km radius reports zero cases for 21 days. 76 per cent parents had also said that it is unfeasible or very difficult for their child's school to operate with social distancing.

These MHRD guidelines are not binding but the State Government could enforce them and before that happens, these inputs will help the Government in rationalising them. The idea behind online classes according to majority of the parents should be to cover the curriculum while ensuring that the screen time is not excessive. Some parents feel that there should be standards on how these online classes are conducted such that use of screen once the classes are over is minimised.

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