The Concerns Regarding Remote Learning in Adolescents

The Concerns Regarding Remote Learning in Adolescents

Willie Lopez Morales, Herald Staff

COVID-19 has caused many effects on people of all ages around the world. One of the major changes that happened as a result of COVID-19 is remote learning and technology use. Online learning has become the most common source of education for students as it is the safest option at the moment. This has also made technology use a lot higher. Although screen time can be beneficial as it is being used for educational purposes, remote learning in adolescents should be concerning as it can cause health issues based on anxiety and depression as well as concerns regarding socialization skills. 

I strongly believe that remote learning has caused students to feel less motivated. I personally have felt like the amount of pressure being placed on me from all of my classes has made me feel negatively about school in general. I was usually a student who enjoyed school to a certain extent and looked forward to being challenged, but remote learning has changed that. I now feel very unmotivated to get up everyday because everyday feels the same.  In the text, Children’s Screen Time Has Soared in the Pandemic, Alarming Parents and Researchers by  Matt Richel, it states, “Scientists say that children’s brains, well through adolescence, are considered ‘plastic,’ meaning they can adapt and shift to changing circumstances. That could help younger people again find satisfaction in an offline world but it becomes harder…” The fact that we have been using the remote learning model for almost a year has caused us to adapt to the situation. This has made everyday feel the same.  Teachers have tried to engage students in various ways, but since there is no physical face-to-face interaction it is hard for students to feel like they are involved. Motivation plays a big factor in success and while it is up to each individual to find something to motivate them, it is hard to do so while the pressure of school, family situations and COVID-19 is on. 

Remote learning causes so many health issues that sometimes can be invisible to others.  For example, a lot of students struggle with depression and anxiety which sometimes can go unnoticed by people around them. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, “From April to October of 2020, emergency room visits related to mental health increased 31 percent in children ages 12 to 17 from the same period in 2019…” This shows that once schools closed down last spring, there has been a huge increase in the amount of mental health related emergencies. Remote learning has caused students to feel alone and pressured which can cause them to develop bad mental  health or even just build on their preexisting concerns. 

In my opinion, remote learning will end up harming the socialization skills of adolescents especially of the freshman. These students who are entering a new learning environment will not know what it is like to go to a high school because they are stuck online. The effects of this will show when they return to school and feel lost and out of place. They will not have the connections or support that you make as a freshman in high school. In the text, “The Flight from Conversation” by Sherry Turkle it states, “In today’s workplace, young people who have grown up fearing conversation show up on the job wearing earphones. Walking through a college library or the campus of a high-tech start-up, one sees the same thing: we are together, but each of us is in our own bubble, furiously connected to keyboards and tiny touch screens.” It is already obvious that our generation of students has become less dependent on physical socialization. It is possible that students will feel like they have to avoid any types of interaction once we return to school (whenever that occurs). This can ultimately be harmful to students when they go off into the professional world. They will find it difficult to have conversations with their co-workers and might even struggle with problems because they fear asking for help.

Some might argue that remote learning is very beneficial to students and allows for more one on one support. It is understandable why the opposition believes this as there is more opportunity for support through breakout rooms and individual zoom meetings. Students are able to send private messages to their teachers if they are not comfortable with sharing what they have to say with the class. It can be easier to focus when you are in the comfort of your own home and not surrounded by other students who can cause distractions. However, not all students learn in the same way; hence, their individual needs are not being addressed. This learning model is not effective for all learning styles and most students would rather sacrifice the comfort of their homes to receive an adequate learning experience in a place conducive to learning. Another point to consider is that not every student has an appropriate environment for learning in their household. There can be a wide range of variables that can hinder a student’s learning in their home such as sibling or daily family occurrences. 

Taking everything into consideration, it is very clear that remote learning, in adolescents, should be cornering. I have noticed a loss of motivation in myself as well as my peers. The fact that we are learning from home has made us feel alone and has caused mental health issues in many. Lastly, one of the most concerning factors is socialization skills for teenagers especially for freshman who have had no experience in an actual high school.