I worry about my niece, who has just turned six, every time she sits on the couch with her eyes transfixed on the mobile phone. It's not just her, everyone spends considerable time on the mobile phone and other digital gadgets these days.

Whether we call it a demand of the situation or addiction, the fact is that we end up spending more time on these gadgets than we should have. Everything has both pros and cons, and the Internet is no exception.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live, dragging us closer to technology than we have ever been. If it weren't for the pandemic, online teaching would never have been a part of our learning.

The country is now witnessing a small number of COVID cases, but some of the academic institutions continue to teach students through a virtual medium.

Many parents have questioned the effectiveness of online teaching. But it's better to have something rather than nothing. However, the fate of the village children remains the same despite the global change. While they continue to struggle in many ways, I'm more concerned about the children from the urban areas who have access to the internet and mobile phones.

In the cities, where almost everyone is involved in something, kids are left alone with a mobile phone so that they can spend their time inside the home. They are, thus, exposed to the screen without proper monitoring. And now with the introduction of online classes, the children spend more time on digital gadgets, which gives reasons to worry about.

The more people stay inside, the more there is a chance of overusing the mobile phone and laptop, which might affect their eyes. This leads to various eye problems – eye strain, dryness, temporary blurred vision and itchy eyes.

The blink rate of the eye decreases by half with the continuous use of digital screens, according to doctors, which is the major cause of eye dryness.

Everything from e-books to various tutorials can be easily accessed on the internet.

So, it's not possible for people to stay away from the digital screen. Here are some ways to mitigate the negative effects of the digital screen: Take frequent breaks from the digital screen: Our eyes also need proper rest. Use spectacles to block the harmful blue light emitted by the screen, which can make your eyes feel tired. Adjust the brightness of your computer and mobile display setting to match the lighting of the environment.

It is the responsibility of the parents to keep track of children's activities. Parents should encourage them to read books that will broaden their imagination and creativity.

A version of this article appears in the print on October 19, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.