On December 21, new “Sanitary and Epidemiological Requirements for Organizations of Education and Training, Recreation and Recreation of Children and Youth” SP 2.4.3648-20 were published. They were approved by the decision of the Chief State Sanitary Doctor of the Russian Federation Anna Popova, will come into force on January 1, 2021 and will be valid until early 2027.
The fears of citizens, who assumed that the new rules would be adapted to the use of e-learning and would dramatically increase the allowable time for schoolchildren to work with computers, were justified. The new rules increase the maximum working time of schoolchildren with electronic devices per day several times compared to the current requirements of sanitary and epidemiological rules and regulations SanPiN 2.2.2 / 2.4.1340-03, which will expire from January 1, 2021. Not only the maximum time of working with electronic means in the lesson increases, but also the number of these lessons per day.
For example, today, according to the current rules of SanPiN 2.2.2 / 2.4.1340-03, the recommended continuous duration of work in the lesson associated with fixing the gaze directly on the screen of the video display terminal should not exceed 15 minutes, and only one lesson is recommended per day using similar funds. Even if in the lesson you use the computer more than once, but twice, it will be 30 minutes a day. And from January 1, 2021, according to the rules of SP 2.4.3648-20, the total duration of computer use in a lesson for first graders should not exceed 20 minutes, and the number of such lessons is limited only by the total allowable teaching load for a child. Since there can be up to 4 lessons in the first grade, the total time of working with a computer, according to the new rules, in grade 1 is increased to 80 minutes per day.
And this increase in the allowed time with a computer has been introduced for all ages. In the second grade, the time for working with a computer per day increases to 100 minutes, in grades 3-4 – up to 125 minutes, in grades 5-6 – up to 180 minutes, in grade 7 – up to 210 minutes, in grade 8 – up to 210 minutes, in grade 9 – from 75 to 210 minutes, in grades 10-11 – up to 225 minutes.
Meanwhile, studies show the negative impact of working with computer screens on the health of children and adolescents. With prolonged work with a computer and a smartphone (these devices are similar in terms of the spectrum of luminescence), difficulties in falling asleep are observed and sleep time is shortened, the production of melatonin during sleep is inhibited, fatigue and lack of energy appear, and concentration of attention decreases. In addition, the use of personal computers in teaching implies multitasking – children should think not only about the topic of the lesson, but also about operations on the computer, switch between programs, use various functions of programs. Research has shown that multitasking reduces adolescents’ ability to switch attention and creates lower attention span.
Society has the right to ask the question on what grounds such a “modernization” of sanitary and epidemiological rules and norms is taking place. No other reasons, except for the desire of the authorities to create legal conditions for transferring school education to a remote format, are not visible. Moreover, billions of rubles are spent on creating technical conditions for such education. For 2021 alone, more than 17 billion rubles are provided for financing the federal project “Digital Educational Environment”. https://mosmetod.ru/files/Doshkolniki/ZOS_21.07.2020.pdf and http://www.consultant.ru/document/cons_doc_LAW_319308/86940486dcdf900dd6adc4f4fe816ecf53cd3777/
We see how, under the pretext of a pandemic, the authorities are directing society towards distance education. Yes, of course, the new coronavirus infection is dangerous and unpredictable, and everyone wants to protect themselves from it and protect their children. Let’s leave aside the question of how effective remote education is in reducing the spread of infection, given that children rarely get seriously ill, and therefore cannot play a large role in the spread of infection. The WHO reported that asymptomatic carriers of the virus contribute much less to the spread of infection than patients. Moreover, even in remote education, children are not isolated from other people and can catch this infection. But after all, the “distant” is dangerous with an unambiguous deterioration in the health of children, and the consequences of this deterioration can be more severe than the consequences of COVID-19.
At the same time, we are also talking about the deterioration of children’s ability to learn (due to the influence of computer use on brain functions), and about the complication of the process of transferring knowledge and motivating children (due to the lack of full-fledged communication between the student and the teacher). And another negative consequence of the transfer of children to correspondence education, certainly more terrible than simply deteriorating health and limited education, is the inability to form a full-fledged personality out of a child without a team of peers. Is the risk of an entire generation becoming uneducated, incapable of thinking and communicating in society worth the risk of trying to reduce a child’s risk of contracting COVID-19? In our opinion, the question is rhetorical, since the choice is between the risk of getting sick, albeit a fatal disease, and the risk of ceasing to be human. The consequences of the “distant” will be worse than a pandemic.