Children today are savvy with handheld devices like smart phones and tablets. They are user friendly enough for even a child less than five years of age to get self-taught.The internet is an entire universe of knowledge for children. Although an effective tool to dispense information and knowledge, there exists a dark and damaging flipside. Though the utility of smartphones cannot be debated, continued use and exposure can have damaging effects on the child.The Dhruv Global Schoolhas examined some of the major side effects that handheld devices have in a child. Here are some of the findings and the final analysis.

Children often carry handheld devices such as smart phones to school. Online chatting with friends, playing games during class or even accessing harmful content is on the rise. This however has resulted in children not paying attention in the class, missing out on important lessons, and consequently falling short in academic performance.Smartphones not only distract children from studies but also becomea tool of malpractices to cheat in exams. For example, using the inbuilt calculator during exams where it isn’t allowed, storing images or reference material to copy in the examination or at times even exchanging answers with fellowpupils over chat during the exam are common observations. Such behaviour apart from affecting the academic performance of the child also amounts to personality damage by giving a certain false legitimacy to a malpractice.It shows the child a short cut to bypass the effort to acquire the required knowledge, ultimately making the child completely dependent and addicted to these devices. It finally takes away the ability in the child to capture information, process the information, access the information and acquire the knowledge. What comes readymade doesn’t remain. What’s acquired through honest effort lays the foundation to individual competence and character.

Looking at the medical costs of handheld devices on a child, children become glued to the device during their free time.They don’t engage in physical activity and get the most needed fresh air. This makes them couch potatoes resulting in obesity and other more serious medical conditions attributed to lifestyle such as juvenile diabetes and hypertension. Radiation caused by constant use of devices can also cause tumours in extreme cases.There always exist issues of mental health associated with handheld devices. Social media brings children in contact with cyberbullies who bullyandharass over the internet. Many cyber-bullied children only admit their experience a lot later in life by which time the mental damage has already been done. Social media also induces depression and anxiety when the child does not get the online attention it expects. A child also needs its share of sleep. Children often stay up late talking to friends, playing games or scrolling through social media, which causes fatigue and restlessness. It in fact disrupts academic life.A sleep deprived child is unable to concentrate on what is being taught in class.

Parents need to as a general practice, avoid giving cell phones to children under the age of 16 as far as possible. Any access to handheld devices should be under strict supervision. It’s best to be connected with the teachers and the school authorities to ensure the child’s safety and development. Some may differ but as long as the child has zero or supervised access to devices and the internet content, it’s safe enough to ensure that the child would remain focussedon its priorities. Parents need to use technology and devices judiciously towards healthy child development.

Each individual student is unique, different in cognitive and affective development, social maturity, ability, motivation, aspiration, learning styles, needs, interests and potential. Other differentiating factors may include innate differences in intelligence, differences in social and economic background, variations in past learning experiences, and perhaps variations in the level of congruence between the learner and the curriculum. Recognizing and addressing these individual differences is key to bridge the gap between individuals in order to even out their abilities and performance. Mentoring should aim for understanding why students are able or unable to learn effectively and evolving appropriate methods to facilitate betterlearning.

Dhruv Global School has the conviction that all students can learn. To address the needs of students, teachers have been trained to provide them with a variety of learning tools and opportunities for effective learning.This involves the utilization of diversified resources instead of relying only on textbooks.Making use of a wide spectrum of intelligences and multi-sensory experiences is effective to tap the different potential of students. Schools need to adopt different modes of assessment to identify the strengths and weaknesses of students before deciding on the appropriate curriculum, and learning and tutoring strategies applicable.

The two main kinds of individual differencesare the quantitative and qualitative differences.Quantitative differences are those in the quantity, speed and depth of learning. Some students may understand a new concept after one lesson whereas others may need to re-examine an idea several times before being able to grasp it. After a series of lessons, the learning abilities are well understood. They vary greatly across students. Observations on cognitive development reveal that children move, in general, from associative, pre-logical thinking to more formalised, logical thinking. Across individualshowever,the transition occurs at a more or less early age and there are differences in the extent to which formal reasoning is achieved. in Cognitive abilities include information processing, memory, reasoning, abstraction ability, etc. there are conative differences between students. In addition,quantitative differences also include conative differences concerning personality traits, motivation, needs and interests. Students differon their level of personal autonomy, level of achievement motivation, tolerance of ambiguity, and test anxiety. Qualitative differences on the other hand inthe ways that students learn best. Some children focus on spelling rules. They correctly pronounce or spell new words that follow the rules but have trouble with exceptions. Othersdevelop specific associations for each word in order to remember how to pronounce and spell words. Some prefer to begin with tangible details and then arrive to a larger vision on a topic whereas othersare comfortable with the exactly opposite approach when beginning on a new topic. Some learn well when working alone whereas others do best in learning through small group situations. Thesedifferences are the cognitive orlearningstyles, which suggest the student’s approach to tasks in qualitatively different ways, if given the choice. In addition to the distinction between quantitative and qualitative differences, we can contrast inter-individual differences i.e. differences between peopleand intra-individual differences i.e. differences within a given person. These are the techniques to measure how students differ in a given knowledge domain, such as mathematics.We can also observe how an individual student differs across domains, such as math, reading, and writing. Some students show homogeneous profiles across tasks whereas others have strong points and weak points depending on the learning domain.

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