By Katerina Mpelmpa, Research Assistant at Child Rights Centre, CNLU Patna
Covid-19 has entered our lives on a global level, and it has changed the way we live and think on a daily basis, while it has also affected the way we interact with others.
The pandemic as a phenomenon carries a different impact on the age and life stage of a person. Childhood is a completely different phase than adulthood, that’s why children are experiencing differently the changes that the virus has brought into their lives. Childhood is one of the most intensive and sensitive stages of a person’s life, as it is a period of years, for example from age 5 to 12, in which children have started absorbing the stimuli from the environment, and unconsciously weaving the layers of their perception upon situations.
How it feels for a child, living through a global pandemic?
Regardless of age, there are several ways in which Covid-19 has impacted children, from irregular routines and virtual reality/school to homelessness and food insecurity.
Changes in daily flow Having a predictable routine is important for parents and children, as they develop together a daily family’s program. The departure from their ‘’normal’’ routine, causes emotions of stress and isolation.
Stuck at home With social distancing measures, kids are stuck at home, isolated from relatives and friends. They may not have access to extracurricular activities and habits, which once brought them joy. One of the most important things is that school is closed, so children lose their daily interaction with their friends and teachers, and at the same time, they are losing chances of building their social development. School is a preparation for the adulthood. A simulator of situations, values, attitudes, and experiences through which children are growing up mentally, building and revealing elements of their personality and character.
Disruptions in Learning Most of the schools have adopted hybrid learning models, with a combination of virtual and in-person instruction. It’s important to remember that not all home situations are the same. From limited technology and poor internet connections to abusive family dynamics and food insecurity, children are challenged to react towards an educational system that is not made for all.
Virtual Reality vs Reality One of the biggest chances of revealing technology’s power is the Lockdown. For adults and children too. For children, is not easy to separate the virtual in digital life from the realistic side of the non-digital life. When the ‘’real ‘’ life and ‘’normality’’ have been paused and muted due to lockdowns and quarantines, children start living through the screens, using computers and mobile phones, replacing their old habits with the newly available means of communication, interaction, and emotion.
Loss of Security and Safety More than half of all people experiencing homelessness are children under the age of 18. The pandemic resulted in job loss, evictions, and loss of security for millions around the world. In cases as India’s Covid-19 conditions, children are struggling with human loss, death, sadness, and total breakdowns.
The impact of Covid-19 is proof that everything is a part of a chain, connected with something else. Children’s emotions and feelings are often being overlooked, because adults are facing vital issues and battles, as job loss and financial disaster. It is important to remember that, children absorb more unconsciously their experiences, emotions, and thoughts, that’s why in difficult and unpredictable radical changes, need guidance and mental support, that will help them, perceive reality in its most clear form.
(Disclaimer- The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Child Rights Centre.)