What Is the Effect of Remote Schooling on Physical and Mental Health?
There are mixed reactions to the new way of learning that the world recently adopted: remote schooling. While some studies have found that remote schooling has some mental health benefits, some others think there are physical and even mental health risks involved in it.
Some parents have reported that their children have less anxiety and a greater feeling of well-being while learning remotely, as opposed to onsite learning. The remote learning environment undoubtedly looks different for each child. While some prefer it, others can`t wait to have the normalcy of school back. Children who have experienced better mental health from remote learning do so as a result of certain factors. Let`s see some of them.
Why Do some Learners Have Better Mental Health from Remote Learning?
Many online schools are self-paced, giving students the opportunity to work without the pressure of strict deadlines. This way, they can spend more time on the learning areas they find challenging without an urgency to catch up by a certain date, nor the competition from fellow learners in onsite learning.
Safe Learning Environment
Remote learning gives learners the opportunity to be surrounded by loved ones while learning. This way, they have a safe environment that will enhance their mental health and as a result, get them to thrive in their academics.
Learners rarely get a personalized experienced from the traditional classroom. With remote learning, they are closer to that feeling of having a one-to-one experience with the teacher. that way, some students relate better with the teacher and learn more.
Realistically, remote learning isn`t all about benefits. There are downsides to it. Let`s talk about these.
Health Risks of Remote Learning
Increased Screen Time
Remote learning gets students spending their eight-hour school day on their tablets and laptops. After that, they turn to another screen such as their phones to chat, or their TV to play video games. This can be damaging to the areas of their brains that are responsible for focus, concentration, planning, organizing, and making judgments.
Remote learning requires extended use of digital media, and this has negative impacts on sleep cycles. Electronic gadgets emit blue light that affects the circadian rhythm, which is the body’s internal clock, resulting in sleep deprivation, which in turn affects the brain and mental health. The brain’s prefrontal cortex houses the amygdala, which is the emotional control center for regulating emotions, memory, and decision-making. Sleep deprivation disrupts the connection between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala, resulting in difficulty in emotional and impulse regulation.
Children who are deprived of sleep may have mental health issues over time. This will affect their organizational skills and also puts them at risk of anxiety.
While some children learn better at home because they are with family, others can`t wait to get back to onsite learning because their home is unpeaceful. There are children who live in homes where there is domestic violence. This can be traumatizing, as they no longer get to escape by going to school.
Reduced Social Interactions and in-Person Connections
Despite the efforts of teachers to create an engaging and interactive learning environment, some students still find remote learning difficult to cope with. They interact better when they learn onsite. This is particularly true for children who rarely have anyone to interact with at home. When they don`t see their peers for so long, they get anxious and nervous. This may make them worry a lot and affect them academically.
5 Ways to Improve Children’s Mental Health During Remote Learning
The pandemic has been quite a challenging time. It`s a new experience for everyone. While parents are dealing with job loss, pay slash, and working remotely, they also have their children`s mental health to deal with. Perhaps it may make you feel better to read that you`re not alone and that it`s not easy. We`ll tell you how to deal with this difficult situation. Keep reading.
Find Supportive Resources
There are loads of family resources on remote learning and how to navigate remote education’s mental and emotional impact on children and parents. This way, you are more informed on this new normal and how to make it work for everyone in the family.
Help them Get Adequate Sleep, Healthy Nutrition, and Exercise
All these are essential, and they definitely don’t have substitutes. They are the basics that your child needs to improve their mental health. Create a routine bedtime and wake-up time, provide brain-boosting foods like vegetables, kid-friendly fruits, and healthy fats. Also, ensure they eat the foods; don`t just provide them. You should also ensure they take frequent breaks away from the computer desk and get them out in the sunlight also. You can take them on walks and bike rides to refresh.
Create a Designated School Space
Creating a separate area for school will have immense mental health benefits for your child, as it can help them mentally switch to school mode when they`re there, and get some mental refreshing when they leave there to take breaks from school tasks.
Create Time to Connect with your Child
Be present in their various developmental stages. Know what`s going on in their life, no matter how little these things seem to you. Ask them questions and listen actively when they respond. Eat meals together, and be involved in other activities also. Simply be a present parent.
Remember to enjoy this time with your children. You all need to have fun now more than ever, as we are in difficult times. Come up with indoor family games you can play and just strengthen the bond and improve everybody`s mental health.
Ask for Help
Sometimes, it`s difficult or impossible doing this alone. Seek support from a licensed mental health professional. Mental health issues are nothing to ashamed about. Tell them exactly what your child is going through and follow their advice.
Some Facts About Anxiety Disorders
- Anxiety comes with various physical and emotional symptoms.
- Anxiety disorders can interfere with school work, job performance, and relationships.
- Anxiety disorders are different from normal feelings of nervousness and anxiousness because they can cause extreme fear or anxiety.
- Only about 1/3 of people suffering from anxiety disorders get adequate treatment or counseling.
- Anxiety disorders can be a result of trauma, withdrawal from drugs or alcohol, stress buildup, stress due to an illness, or a family history of mental health issues.
- About 50% of Americans diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
- Eating disorders, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sleep disorders, bipolar disorder, chronic pain, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are closely related to anxiety disorders.
- Approximately 8% of children and teenagers experience an anxiety disorder, and many of them develop the symptoms before age 21.
- People with generalized anxiety disorder experience irritability, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, nausea, dizziness, worsening worry or fear, and chronic fatigue over extended periods of time.
- There are other common anxiety disorders such as specific phobias, selective mutism, panic disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and social anxiety.
- Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders and will affect nearly 30% of adults at some point in their lives.
- Generalized anxiety disorder affects 6.8 million adults in the United States, with women being twice as likely to be affected as men.