NEW YORK — While out-of-work adults and seniors may be bearing the brunt of mental health issues during the pandemic, parents aren’t forgetting about quarantine’s toll on their children. A new study finds the majority of American parents are worrying about their child’s mental health more than ever.
A OnePoll survey asked 2,000 American parents how their kids are coping with the pandemic overall while attending school remotely. Nearly 1,800 of the respondents say their children are currently participating in some form of remote learning.
An overwhelming 93 percent shared they have concerns about their child’s mental health as the pandemic wears on. Seven in 10 of these respondents say they’re more concerned than ever before. Overall, four in 10 parents polled say their child is no longer showing interest in classes they usually enjoy. Another 27 percent add their child no longer has an interest in their favorite hobbies as well.
Kids are struggling with classes and with their friends
Commissioned by Lightspeed Systems, 42 percent of parents report their child is struggling to turn in assignments on time. The survey also finds parents are expressing concern about the lack of social interaction youngsters have with their peers (35%).
For the 93 percent of parents concerned about their child’s mental health, 66 percent want to discuss it with their kids but don’t know how to approach the issue. Additionally, 56 percent of these respondents also believe their child is showing signs of depression.
“At a time when parents are most concerned about a child’s mental health, it’s imperative that school devices are armed with web filters that utilize artificial intelligence to monitor and analyze each students’ online activity for signs of self-harm, suicide, cyberbullying, and other inappropriate behaviors,” says Brian Thomas, CEO of Lightspeed Systems, in a statement. “In fact, our software has flagged more than 28,000 instances this school year to date alone.”
Distrust in remote learning technology
For families learning remotely that have school-issued devices for their child to use (approximately 1,000 respondents), 67 percent wish they could monitor their child’s online presence on these devices more efficiently.
In fact, 66 percent of these parents shared they worry about online safety during remote classes on school computers. Nearly half (46%) have called their child’s school to see if their school-issued device has adequate safety features. Another 44 percent have called to find out if these devices have the same web filters in-school computers use.
With all of these concerns, 62 percent of parents feel like they’re always talking to their child about online safety. However, they also feel they never seem to get through to them.
“Kids these days are very tech savvy and the results found that the average parent has learned seven new tech tips from their kids while they’ve been learning remotely,” Thomas adds. “Parents need to be proactive and make sure they educate their children about online safety. It’s also a good idea to avoid keeping devices in kids’ bedrooms at night, however, the results show that 91% of parents do allow this. A common denominator among many kids who were victimized online was that they kept their digital devices overnight in their bedrooms.”