Nearly a year after most schools across the country closed classrooms and went online to “protect” kids and staff from the coronavirus, the CDC has come out with new data showing that virtual learning actually hurts kids’ mental health.
And all the sensible people said, “duh.”
According to the study, 25 percent of parents whose kids started attending school online have reported “worsened mental or emotional health in their children” during the pandemic, CNN reports. Conversely, only 16 percent of parents whose kids continued to attend in-person schooling said the same.
“Parents whose children received virtual instruction or a combination of virtual and in-person instruction were more likely to report increased risk on 11 of 17 indicators of child and parental well-being, according to the new CDC study,” CNN adds.
From the study:
Parents of children receiving virtual instruction were more likely than were parents of children receiving combined instruction to report that their children experienced decreased physical activity (62.9% versus 52.1%) and time spent outside (58.0% versus 42.4%).
And while the kids may have been kept “safe” from the virus that almost exclusively targets elderly and unhealthy adults, the CDC found the physical effects of being stuck inside and attending school through a screen is the exact opposite of what children need to stay healthy.
“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 (e.g., diabetes); therefore, these differences in physical activity are concerning. Likewise, isolation and limited physical and outside activity can adversely affect children’s mental health,” the CDC concluded.
And it’s not just the kids who weren’t alright. Predictably, the study found that the parents of virtual-learning kids were 30 to 50 percent more likely to report a loss of work,, job stability concerns, child care challenges, conflict between working and caring for their kids, emotional distress, and difficulty sleeping.
The study surveyed 1,290 parents whose child was enrolled in either public or private school. Of those, more than 45% said their child had been going to school entirely online and just over 23% said they’d had a combination of virtual and in-person learning. Less than one-third said their children had continued receiving in-person instruction the entire time, a high percentage of those being parents of children attending private school.