As the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, struggles, cases, and deaths keep going up. Even with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, there is a long way to go before life can return to normal. As a result, mental health has deteriorated for a lot of people during these difficult times.
According to a study done by activeminds.org, out of 3,239 high school and college students:
- 74% of students are challenged in maintaining a routine due to COVID-19
- 38% say that have trouble focusing on work
- 55% of all students surveyed do not know where to go for help with their mental health
While mental health has been deteriorating for many, it has especially been horrible for kids. Not being able to see classmates or friends (or only for specific days of the week) has affected their quality of learning. Learning through a screen without others beside the student limits the validation from peers, which is very important. When the student finds it more difficult to learn, it leads to self-doubt and frustration. This, in turn, can create a resentment of learning, which appears in multiple aspects of life. Adults have learned how to manage and control their anger, but kids are still learning these skills and are not yet proficient.
A seven year old who was tired of online school wrote a poem about Zoom and how annoying it was. Picking up coverage from news outlets, the story was too relatable for kids across America and the world. While noted in the article that it was a poem written for class and that he read it out loud to be snarky, the poem really hit home with those experiencing online school:
“Boring online school
Today is just another day
in a long line of days
staring at a dumb screen
Just booring booring
online school that’s the
only thing that did happen
it’s the only thing that is
happening that’s the only
thing that will happen”
The following poem is reinforcement of the points shared above. The kid is talking about how boring it is to stare at a screen all day, and how it seems as though it will never end.
Kids’ experience online is different than that of adults. Additionally, adults have more coping mechanisms to deal with online work than kids do with online school, since they have access to more resources. Kids thrive and benefit much more in the long term from being around their peers. The difference is incredibly important to recognize. Expecting kids to behave like adults online without additional support likely will exacerbate mental health issues of kids, letting this pandemic take even greater control on the future of the world.