While many hope to see a return to more face-to-face learning this coming fall, this piece reminds us how much of a negative impact too much hybrid learning can have on developing young children. – KW
Remote and hybrid education plans have become the norm for K-12 grade schools since the pandemic. While these tools can help children, there are also clear disadvantages, particularly for younger students. Being away from the classroom all or part of the time can harm kids.
In light of this, schools, parents, and teachers must work together to help younger students to thrive in a remote learning atmosphere. Here are some of the challenges and how they may be addressed.
Negative Emotional Impacts of Isolation
When children are denied access to daily interaction with their classmates and recreational activities, their mental health can suffer. This was the case in Las Vegas, where suicide rates among students doubled during the nine months of pandemic school closures, with the youngest victim only 9 years old.
While mental health is a critical crisis, isolation can also disrupt the social development of young children. Peer interaction helps preschoolers learn the social skills required for connection with others. Isolated grade-schoolers are more likely to turn to their devices, risking screen addiction as a replacement for healthy peer relationships.
Remote Learning Challenges for Younger Students
Another consequence for younger children, who often lack attention skills, is increased screen time. This can have adverse health effects, both physical and mental, for kids such as poor sleep habits and a rise in stress and anxiety. Too much time on social media can even lead to depression for some.
A new mental health crisis is the rise of Zoom dysmorphia. This is related to body dysmorphic disorder, when a person obsesses on their physical imperfections enough to disrupt their ability to