Time of distance learning and its challenges for children


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Searching for answers as children and adolescents return back to everyday life after the end of Covid related measures.

In the spring of 2020, during the first period of Covid related measures, children and adolescents could still have a sense of certainty, predictability and stability during distance learning, because it was clear, predictable and unquestionable that school would end on June 24th, 2020 and the holidays would begin. Now, during the second wave and another period of Covid related measures, this is something that they do not and can not have.

Quite the opposite, uncertainty and unpredictability are growing. There are many questions and unknowns hanging in the air, remaining unanswered. All the uncertainty, combined with restrictions on movement, socializing and physical activity and excessive use of digital devices, leaves consequences in children’s and adolescents’ mental health. 

How long will the measures last? When will we be able to return to school? How will school continue after the end of the measures? What will the assessments look like? What will happen with the compulsory practice that we could not do due to the measures? Will we be able to socialize again, to play, engage in sports, music, culture, attend courses and clubs, and learn social skills in live contacts…?

Parents feel helpless, which also has an impact on the mental health of children and adolescents. Parents often experience insecurities due to work, employment, survival and ignorance of how to help children with distance learning.

With the release of measures, the problems of overuse and addiction will not go away on their own

In search of solutions to their problems, parents lack the time, energy or knowledge to help children and adolescents. Thus, children and adolescents need to find solutions to their problems themselves. Very often, because it is very easy to neutralize tension and anxiety, to relax and have fun or to withdraw from everyday challenges, they resort to digital devices, as they offer the desired result soon after switching on.

The amount of time they spend behind the screens due to distance learning and the time they continue with the activities behind the screens after class does not bring anything good. In Logout, we also observe an increase in problems due to overuse and addiction to digital devices during this time. At the moment, the counselling sessions are fully occupied, but at the same time we are anxiously looking to the future, to the time after the release of measures, when we can return to everyday life.

With the release of measures, the problems caused by overuse and addiction will not go away on their own. To what extent and with what intensity the hardships and consequences will continue to occur over time, it remains to be seen.

Are we, as a society, really ready to return to normal?

  • How much do we plan our transition back to normal, make sense of it, deal with it at all?

  • As a society, do we have a gradual transition ready for the most vulnerable members, such as children and adolescents?

  • What will the transition back to school look like? Will school requirements be at the same level as before or will it be taken into account that there has been a decline in work habits, reduced ability to maintain concentration and slowed motor development?

  • Will there be a decline in children's and adolescents' interest in social contacts and in structured socializing in organized forms: training, sports clubs, competitions, music schools, courses? Will there be less interest in unstructured socializing in backyards and playgrounds?

  • Will they stay in front of screens through which they had to spend not only time for schooling but also for socializing, and continue using them to satisfy the psychological needs for belonging, connection, inclusion and social learning?

  • Are we ready for children and adolescents who will reject school or have developed a negative attitude towards school?

  • What will happen to those who have crossed the line of balanced use of digital devices and developed addiction?

It will take some time to return back to normal everyday life and our success mainly depends on how ready we will be for it.

Useful value ​​and permanent risks of digital technologies

At Logout, we hope that this experience has shown us how important it is to know and be critical of the use of digital technologies, which, in addition to their useful value, also bring many risks.

The experience of digital overload of children and adolescents is a great opportunity for the urgent introduction of digital education in primary and secondary schools.

One such initiative, which, in cooperation with partners, addresses this area, is the Initiative for "Placing a compulsory digital literacy program in the curriculum of primary schools".

With the initiative and our other programs, we want to contribute to a society that will hurry up and prepare for the upcoming time. We do not want to remain in a society, which hasn't had a national program for children and adolescents since 2016 and to be surprised again by the new / old reality such as the second wave.


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