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Asia Minute: India’s Government Suggests Capping Screen Time for Students

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One side effect of the coronavirus pandemic has been an increase in computer screen time for many people. That includes children — which is getting more attention this week in India.

It’s a question parents and educators are wrestling with around the world: how much screen time is too much screen time when it comes to children?

India’s central government has put out some recommendations this week.

It’s broken down by age group, with less time in front of the computer suggested for younger children — gradually increasing for older students.

The recommendations are for no longer than half an hour a day in front of a computer for preschoolers. For elementary school and junior high school students, no more than two class sessions of 30 to 45 minutes each.

The government says that high schoolers can tolerate more screen time — up to four online classes a day of 30 to 45 minutes at a time.

The Hindustan Times reports a mixed reaction to the suggestions, noting that while many parents are concerned about too much screen time for their children, some do not see many alternatives to extensive computer use as part of at-home learning.

The government guidance also notes that schools will need to “remodel” and “re-imagine” teaching and learning — although it’s less clear on exactly how to achieve those goals in the midst of a pandemic.

India now has the third highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world — behind the United States and Brazil.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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