How Parents Can Protect Children’s Mental & Digital Wellness During the Pandemic
It’s been more than a year since the Covid-19 Pandemic began and a lot of things have changed since then. Most of us started working from home and children are now participating in remote learning. Perhaps you’re wondering what your child is really doing on the computer when they’re not doing schoolwork? And when was the last time your child got to see his/her friends or classmates in person? Are you worried about his or her well-being?
These are just some of the questions we would like to answer, but before that, here are some facts about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on parents and children–and especially on their mental and digital health.
Facts about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on parents:
- In March 2020, 52% of parents said they’re overwhelmed by the role of having to manage all the digital technology in their children’s lives. In September, that number rose to 60%. (Google)
- In September 2020, 41 percent of parents reported they were currently unplugging and taking tech breaks. (Google)
Parents agree that some of the best ways to limit screen time include encouraging a family-wide screen off time (47%), confiscating phones and other devices (47%), distracting their kids with something else (46%), and using chores as a system to earn back screen time (42%).
- The OnePoll survey, commissioned by Circle asked 2,000 American parents if they see tech burnout in their children and how they plan to improve their family’s digital wellbeing in 2021. More than three in four (77%) believe having their child take a break from technology can vastly improve their mental and emotional health.
Facts about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on students:
- Teens have been spending more time on social media than before the pandemic, 48% for more than 5 hours per day. (Digital Wellness Lab)
- Some 825 million children around the world are not learning the skills they need to advance in school and gaps in access to education have been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
- Matthew Snape, a pediatric researcher at the University of Oxford, notes “There is clear evidence that shutting schools harm[s] students directly, both in terms of their education and their mental and social health.
- A survey commissioned by Chegg.org shows more than half of US students (58% college, 53% high school) are worried about their mental health; with over half (53% college, 62% high school) reporting as experiencing stress, and a similar number (48% college, 51% high school) saying they have suffered anxiety since the outbreak of the pandemic.
How to protect the children’s digital and mental wellness:
- Christine Garcia, a San Francisco psychologist, says parents can help by being more flexible when it comes to expectations for your teen.
- K-12 schools can approach student mental health concerns amid Covid-19 by:
- Creating an emotionally safe environment when reopening schools. (Rave Mobile Safety)
- Learning how to recognize the warning signs of potential youth suicide, and providing a supportive environment to prevent it, is extremely important.
- Balancing tech time and avoiding ‘internet addiction’ in children with something else, like playing a board game. (WTOL11)
- It’s also important for teenagers to have access to their friends. If that means they’re on a little bit more where they’re talking or FaceTime-ing, we would want to continue to let them do that because that’s helping them to remain socialized.
Finally, since Remote Learning is now considered the “new normal”—and this means more time is spent by your children on the internet—this also means there’s more chance for them to accidentally click or view age inappropriate content that could harm young minds.
To ensure your children’s online security, we recommend that you install Trend Micro’s Safe Filter for Kids on your children’s devices.
Safe Filter for Kids is a real-time content and image filtering application that safeguards your child’s digital behavior. It:
- Detects threats using Artificial Intelligence
- Maintains Safe Browsing using Web Threat Protection
- Provides Parental Controls to ensure your children only view appropriate content on the internet.
Download is easy. Install Trend Micro’s Safe Filter for Kids Chrome extension by clicking this image below and following the prompts: