Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools nationwide have opted for remote learning this year — at least for the fall semester. Understanding YOLO and how this “new normal” might impact their children and teens has become a priority for parents. After all, most children and teens face a new way of doing things with its positives and negatives.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children and teenagers are susceptible to stress during these uncertain times. It’s no surprise that they may not know how to handle it. Fear of the pandemic, changes at home, and now learning changes can all contribute to stress and anxiety.
How will remote learning honestly impact children and teenagers?
Most teens know the acronym “YOLO, representing the idea that “You Only Live Once.” Unfortunately, during a pandemic, it’s easy to feel life itself has hit the pause button — and understanding YOLO seems vital to parents right now.
For teenagers, this pandemic has robbed them of many things, from their everyday social lives to significant events (i.e., graduations, proms, sports, etc.). So, while you only live once, teens miss out on some of these substantial rights of passage that they won’t get to do-over.
As of April 2020, when many schools had just suspended in-person learning, about four in ten teens claimed that they were experiencing loneliness due to the pandemic and having to learn remotely. As of July 2020, three in ten parents said the pandemic’s impact was causing their children emotional and mental harm.
While younger children may not feel as though they’re missing out on as much, they also have to get used to being away from their friends during these formative years. They are missing the chance to build close relationships and friendships that can last for a lifetime.
Are There Any Positives?
Remote learning isn’t anything new. Thousands of children and teens across the country homeschooled or did eLearning long before the pandemic struck, mostly because this option has several advantages.
One of the biggest pros of online learning is that kids don’t have to worry about peer pressure, bullying, or feeling “out of place” in their surroundings. Because bullying has become a hot topic in recent years, many parents prefer their children to learn at home.
Negative peer pressure and efforts for kids and teens to fit in can create major behavioral issues and even lead to school problems. Parents who keep their kids home to learn can monitor such things.
Will There Be Any Long-Term Impacts?
It’s too soon to tell what the long-term impacts of COVID-19 will be on kids’ and teens’ mental health. With some data already coming in, it’s safe to say that anxiety and even depression will be prevalent for years to come.
Everyone is currently trying to deal with a “new normal.” Even kids who have gone back to school in person face new rules and safety guidelines, such as wearing masks all day.
Children and teenagers need interaction with others. Like everyone else, they are social beings and need to feel supported by friends, teachers, etc. It’s hard to tell just how much the loss of normalcy will impact them in years to come — but understanding YOLO is an excellent place to start extending empathy towards your children.
If you’re worried about how your child or teenager might be handling the transition to remote learning, feel free to contact me. Or visit my Children and Grief page to learn more about how I can help.
It’s essential to keep in mind the things they are missing out on and the stress they are under to keep moving forward while the rest of the world seems to be at a standstill.