The Covid-19 Effect on Youth Development

Student watching their teacher
Zoom Learning

Coronavirus has affected just about everything in our modern lives, from how we socialize, work, and now send our children to school. As a Youth Development Professional at the Boys and Girls Club of Emerald Valley, I have first-hand experience of how online school affects our youth.

A majority of humans, including myself, prefer in-person interactions instead of zoom. As humans, we cannot pick up on nearly the same amount of non-verbal cues, particularly affecting youth. Dr. Brenda Wiederhold, a clinical psychologist, mentions that.

“Our brains are used to picking up body language and other cues, not to mention increases of dopamine, that are experienced during face-to-face communication.” For example, “On a video call, something is off, and our subconscious brain is reacting to that. Communication isn’t in real-time, even though we may think it is."

Face to face interaction is crucial for those students who already struggle in school. But now that many students are stuck at home, a lack of resources is detrimental to students who need greater tutoring access.

Students doing zoom education
Online Education

A substantial research base developed by Karl Alexander at Johns Hopkins University and many others show that students, especially students with fewer resources at home, learn less when they are not in school. "Right now, virtual courses are allowing students to access lessons and exercises and interact with teachers in ways that would have been impossible if an epidemic had closed schools even a decade or two earlier. So we may be skeptical of online learning, but it is also time to embrace and improve it."

I believe we have the right to be skeptical of online learning, but it's our best option amidst this global pandemic, unfortunately. COVID-19 has exacerbated many trends, and online education happens to be one of them. As we advance, online education may have a place as a supplement to in-person learning in the future.

If you want to learn more about the effects COVID-19 has on Youth Development, listen to our most recent podcast episode.

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