SWGfL and Internet Matters Launch Campaign to Address Impact of Remote Learning on Young People

We have joined forces with Internet Matters to launch a campaign that addresses the impact of remote learning throughout the lockdown period. We will be running a series of videos on Instagram that look at the coping strategies of young people aged between 13- 18 years old in how they have managed their various stresses throughout remote learning. Internet Matters have also run a survey to parents throughout the UK to look at the positive and negative impact of remote learning and what effect it has had on their children whilst publishing a series of videos to help parents in their support.

SWGfL Instagram Wellbeing Campaign

We collaborated with Priory Learning Trust and Headstart Kernow to interview over 600 pupils who agreed that tech can be a blessing but can also present a number of wellbeing issues. The campaign shares the lockdown experiences of a group of teenagers and the innovative ways in which they are coping. The short videos show discussion about taking breaks, the positives and negatives of technology and the importance of resources, as well as how parents can best help.

The majority agreed that whilst it’s been great in enabling them to stay connected and keep up with school work, they have become so reliant on technology that they can sometimes feel restricted and tied down. One child commented that it’s taken a “Huge mental toll. The work is much too hard without face to face support from teachers. Teams meetings make me have panic attacks yet I get in trouble for not attending. I don’t want to get out of bed but feel guilty and anxious when work isn’t done”.  Many children are in desperate need of help and the campaign aims to raise awareness of what they can do to support their mental health during this time, especially now as schools will look to return to regular practice in the near future.

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Internet Matters Survey & Video Series

Internet Matters explored the impact of live lessons and how children felt about such topics as leaving their camera on or off as well as how confident they are to speak up within the class. While the majority of parents (46%) agreed that live lessons gave their children an opportunity to remain ‘visibly connected’ to the rest of the class, 41% said it had made their child more self-conscious about their identity whilst worried about how they look on camera.

43% said their child found it difficult to speak up during live lessons and 37% said they were more anxious than normal when asked to attend with the camera on. Dr Linda Papadopoulos in response has launched a series of videos on Internet Matters that look to support parents in how they can support their child during remote learning as well as addressing ways to help them manage their anxiety.

Online safety was also highlighted as a growing concern for parents –  over half had wanted schools to teach children more about online safety and 47% felt they needed more help with it themselves.

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David Wright, Director of UK Safer Internet Centre, said:

Tech has ensured young people can continue to learn, socialise and communicate during this third lockdown - however, we know there are many issues that they have faced along the way.

Through our work we found that many children are facing the same struggles whether that’s issues with having their camera on during live remote lessons to concerns over being too reliant on tech.

Even though they may have been ‘left to their own devices’, what’s important is that children know they are not alone in the issues they face and should recognise a sense of achievement as they look to head back to the classroom for the first time this year.

Carolyn Bunting, CEO of Internet Matters, said:

It’s understandable that parents may be worried about the long-term impact of lockdown on their children and many might be confused about what is beneficial for them and what might be causing them distress.

What’s clear is we need to accept technology will play an even bigger role in children’s everyday school life including remote live lessons. 

We’re pleased to be able to offer help and support through the resources on our website including some new videos which tackle how to support your child if having a camera on during lessons is causing them any anxiety.

If you are struggling with any of the issues highlighted in this campaign or are worried about your mental health, please speak to someone in your school or talk to a trusted adult. You can visit Internet Matters for tips to help you cope with live video lessons here. You can also phone Childline 0800 1111 or get in touch with YoungMinds:  #NotAloneInLockdown

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