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Parents fear children will be exposed to inappropriate content amid virtual learning

Parents fear children will be exposed to inappropriate content amid virtual learning


Parents fear children will be exposed to inappropriate content amid virtual learning

Amid concerns of digital divide and education gap, a group of ministers (GoM) believes that the government should tackle inappropriate content on the internet. The ministers have pointed out that there is apprehension in parents that broadband connectivity will be misused by the children whereby they might be exposed to inappropriate content.

The GoM, headed by Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, was formed to suggest ways to improve e-education as schools have been closed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ministers have also recommended the government to distribute mobile tablets to needy and poor students to cover the digital divide.

“Digital education facility needs to be extended and municipal schools in mission mode on a priority basis, it ministers said in their report. “It may be considered if capsule programmes of one to two hours for students could be developed to telecast which could help students studying in government schools and in rural areas. It may also be considered if electronic tablets could be distributed to students.”

Through the pandemic, as per Garima Sahai, a PhD scholar, schools have been holding online classes; and this has formalized the digital divide, which also exacerbates the knowledge divide in India. Sahai said the dearth of electronic devices among low-income families in India is important and a binding constraint. “Providing electronic devices can help, in part, breach the classed barriers to online education,” she suggested. “But what it cannot do, and what has received almost no attention, is overcome the gendered barriers to electronic education.”

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In regards to inappropriate content on the internet, the GoM recommended that the government should make concerted effort to make such content unavailable through infrastructure meant for education by appropriate regulations. The panel said that student-appropriate tools need to be promoted for fun-based learning, such as teaching Indian art and culture through games. “Information and digital content relating to subjects like physics, chemistry, maths, botany, geology, earth sciences, health and behavioral sciences, civil sense, constitution, that is non-controversial topics, may be imparted through a digital platform in an easy to access mode,” the report said.

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