Jhoola Activity Centre in Nanganallur was established in 2016 in order to train children to be gadget-free and create emotional bonds taken away by technology, according to Deepika Arun, founder. “During this time, many children become aggressive when they are not given gadgets. There are several studies that show the negative impact of technology on children. With a lot of them now taking online classes, many have complained of headaches and other issues,” said Deepika.
The virtual nature of classes goes against her principle of giving children a gadget-free environment. Initially, she attempted to send parents a worksheet and other activities. “However, the children were unable to maintain the same educational rapport they had with me with their parents. Also, many parents do not have an hour to spare due to work-from-home constraints. So we dropped that class,” she said.
With rental costs rising and delays, she decided to shut down. With social distancing norms, she said it would be difficult to create bonds through play, a physical and in-person learning activity crucial for children.
“We cannot predict what will happen in the future. Going virtual goes against the fundamental beliefs of my activity centre, and given the other issues as well, we will have to shut down. Other institutions may certainly go virtual, but I don’t think it would be right for us to do so,” Deepika said.