Effects of Covid-19 on the Growth and Development of Children and Adolescents

Effects of Covid-19 on the Growth and Development of Children and Adolescents

Esha Brar

With us being in the midst of a pandemic due to COVID-19, there are still a lot more unknowns that need to be discovered. However, one thing is for sure, children and teenagers have been affected deeply by the pandemic and all aspects surrounding it, and will be impacted for a long time in the future. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, more than 657,000 children have tested positive across the United States since October 1st. This number is indicative of over 10% of the 7 million US coronavirus cases so far, but this number is likely underreported, due to state data. The data suggests, however, that these statistics will affect children long-term, and have detrimental effects on their ability to learn and communicate with others. One of the most concerning issues regarding teenagers and children, especially during the pandemic, was the huge rise in the number of visits to emergency rooms for suicidal thoughts and attempts, which has doubled between the years 2007 and 2015. Although there have been very few COVID-19 deaths of young children, the long term effects of being in such a pandemic will continue to affect them for a long time coming. One of the most important aspects that many young children were stripped away from was the ability to communicate and learn with others in a classroom setting, especially during the beginning of the closing, around February and March. This ability to communicate and learn in a classroom setting is vital for children’s ability to learn, especially during the ages of 6-10, and today, even with different models of schooling, many children are not getting the interaction that they need to learn. For teenagers and adolescents, mental health has been deteriorating so much, with online schooling, and having to stare at a screen all day, but still getting the same amount of homework, tests, and not getting enough sleep at all. Most students report not actually absorbing the information, and instead, feeling extremely tired all day. The long term effects of this pandemic will not only affect the learning abilities, and interaction, and communications of young children, but will also affect older children, their learning, motivation, and performance in high school in general. 

A specific group of teenagers and adolescents that have been affected by the pandemic are minority groups of children, who often don’t have the facility and care they need and have to deal with their parent’s loss of jobs and finances. The emphasis on learning is also hindered as a result, making their experience during this pandemic very difficult and not ideal whatsoever. They are the black and Latino communities, specifically in the Bronx and Harlem, that need a lot of assistance and help, and whose children are being deeply affected by this pandemic. 

The emergence of COVID-19 has not been easy for anyone, but specifically, children and teenagers have gone through a lot. With mental health rapidly deteriorating, it is super important that parents have conversations with their children about mental health, but also that they continue to provide both physical and mental support as well. Be sure to check on everyone, and really ask them how they are doing. Be kind to everyone, unity will be what gets us all through this.