Students not ok due to over-dependence on gadgets: Study of dbme says

The pandemic has increased students’ dependencies on electronic gadgets and mobile phones, with 68 percent passing two to four hours a day on their mobile phones, nine percent spending that much time in front of a computer screen and eight percent doing so on tablets, according to a recent study. Such dependency has deteriorated their mental and physical well-being during the past one year, it stated. The study, conducted on a total of 1,803 students of secondary schools (both Bangla and English medium) and madrasas in 21 districts of the country between June and December 2020, found that 52 percent of them were suffering from depression and felt that they were losing their tempers over trifling matters. The research article titled “Prevalence and Impact of the use of electronic gadgets on the health of children in secondary schools in Bangladesh: A cross sectional study” was published in Wiley Health Science Journal on October 1.

Researchers from Dhaka University (DU), Chittagong University (CU), Chattogram Medical College (CMH), Chattogram Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Asian University for Women, University of Science and Technology Chittagong and Southern University jointly conducted the study. While students used to suffer from various health problems including fevers, skin diseases, diarrhoea and cough during 2018 -2019, they started suffering from a whole new range of health problems during the pandemic, including backaches, visual disturbances, mental health issues and insomnia. The study revealed that 70 percent students had no scope for physical activities outside the home, while 50 percent did not even have the opportunity to carry out physical activities indoors.

Only 25 percent students used electronic gadgets for attending online classes; 40 percent used those to watch cartoons, shows and movies; 27 percent used them to log on to social media; and 17 percent used electronic gadgets to play video games, according to the study.

Students of English-medium schools were found to be the most dependent on electronic gadgets, while indigenous groups living in Chittagong Hill Tracts were the least dependent.

Dr SM Mahbubur Rashid, associate professor of DU’s Department of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Dr Alok Paul (Department of Geography and Environmental Science at CU), Dr Farhana Akter (Hormone and Endocrinology at CMH), and Dr Adnan Mannan (Dept of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology at CU) were the principal investigators of the study.

Contacted, Dr Rashid said the study revealed how children are suffering from various health problems due to their excessive association with electronic gadgets. The findings are alarming, he said, adding that guardians should be conscious about the over-dependence on gadgets.

Dr Mannan said the study should be replicated with a bigger sample size in more areas to get a more comprehensive idea about the situation. Link of the paper- https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/hsr2.388

Link of feature at The Daily Star- https://www.thedailystar.net/news/bangladesh/news/students-are-not-okay-2191806

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