A recent study conducted by the CDC found “higher prevalences of negative indicators of well-being for children receiving virtual or combined instruction than for children receiving in-person instruction.”
Per necessary restrictions, kids have been forced to learn at home. That can be a heavy adjustment and adults may struggle to understand its true affect on kids. “It’s very, very damaging — that back and forth with kids — especially at this age,” says Stephanie Kokinos, a mother of two from New York. She continues, “it’s really hard to put yourself as an adult, having a full functioning frontal lobe, (in their shoes with) what they are experiencing and how they’re acting.”
Virtual learning riskier than in-person learning?
In the study, 24.9% of parents whose children are receiving virtual schooling reported that their kids experienced declining mental and emotional health during the pandemic. The true impact begins to set in once you notice how important human interaction is for kids. “Human interaction is crucial to children’s language development,” says Spanish/English program, Kids’ Candor. “Research shows that the interactions of children, caregivers, and the environment influence the rate and quality of language, speech, and communication development.”
By the numbers, 50.3% of those surveyed suggests that their kids experienced a decrease in physical activity. 80% say that their kids haven’t had much interaction with their friends lately. I think it’s a fair assessment to establish a connection between human interaction and children’s experience in virtual learning. Before finding solutions we must first understand the problem.
A link to depression.
Physically, experts are concerned about how kids haven’t been active lately. “Regular physical activity is associated with children’s improved cardiorespiratory fitness, increased muscle and bone strength, and reduced risk for depression, anxiety, and chronic health conditions,” says the CDC. “Therefore, these differences in physical activity are concerning. Likewise, isolation and limited physical and outside activity can adversely affect children’s mental health.”
The study suggests that sending kids to school may be a better option than virtual learning. It provides kids with space to grow necessary communication skills.
Affecting parents, too.
Virtual learning has taken a toll on adults. Over 40% of parents surveyed reported a loss of work productivity in order to tend to their children’s schooling. About 54% of parents whose kids engage in virtual learning reported emotional distress. Given the various headaches that technology is notorious for providing, I can imagine the stress. It has to be tough trying to keep some kids in front of the computer all day too.
There are some things that you can do to improve your child’s virtual learning experience. Given the climate of our world, it will continue to be an option. Here are a few tips from Teach Thought to help your kid’s virtual learning experience.