We have all faced the challenges of remote work through the pandemic. But children and teens have also had difficulties in adapting to remote learning that can have both immediate and long-term concerns. It has been a polarizing and politically heightened argument over whether schools should remain open, putting staff and students at risk of
We have all faced the challenges of remote work through the pandemic. But children and teens have also had difficulties in adapting to remote learning that can have both immediate and long-term concerns. It has been a polarizing and politically heightened argument over whether schools should remain open, putting staff and students at risk of spreading COVID-19, or kids and teens should stay home in favour of remote learning, which has its health issues associated with it.
As remote learning has gone on, teens have had to experience struggles that can be just as affectatious on mental health as COVID-19 can be on one’s physical wellbeing.
Teen Depression and Suicide
Before the pandemic, teens were experiencing the social pressures that come with being around their peers at school, and with social media available to them, those pressures were extending into their homes. But since remote learning has been their primary educational experience through the pandemic, there has been a lack of face-to-face interactions with friends and social media has exploded into a 24/7 connection to peers.
This increased screen-time, together with social media as the main outlet for peer-to-peer interaction has caused higher rates of depression and suicidal thoughts in teens. Prolonged isolation is not easy for anyone to experience and for teens that are social creatures, it can be a dangerous, unhealthy situation.
As in-person learning can help teachers and school guidance counselors to identify the individual needs of a student, remote learning takes away that aspect of overseeing the mental health of teens. It is left in the hands of parents to ensure their teens are mentally healthy, which in the best of times is a difficult thing to do. One of the best ways to catch teen depression before it leads to self-harm or suicide is through in-person learning where teachers can notice behavioral changes. Thankfully there are helpful services for teen depression treatment.
Limiting Social Skills
From a very young age and extending into our twenties, we learn our social skills from personal interactions with others. Teens need in-person, conversational experiences that can only be achieved every day in a live classroom setting, to build on their social skills.
Without developing their social skills beyond texting and on-screen chatrooms, teens may struggle now and well into the future as they move into the workforce. This is why it is vitally important as parents of teens to give them access to conversations at home. While many teens prefer to isolate themselves from their parents under normal circumstances, remote learning during the pandemic can shut them down even further. We must bring teens out of their shells to enjoy human interaction that is nonjudgmental so that they have an outlet to express themselves in their own voices. If they would feel more comfortable speaking with someone other than a parent, that can benefit their mental health greatly as they can share more openly.
Taking care of our teens’ mental health and social progress is critical to their immediate and future mental health through an extended period with remote learning.