How Online Education Impacted Families During Covid-19
The education sector was radically affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Personal interactions became forbidden, and the very foundation of global academia was shaken to the core. Educational institutions shut down, and interpersonal communications & conventional schooling became a bane. Online & distance learning with the aid of educational technologies remained the only way out, and educational systems worldwide HAD to adopt these measures no matter what.
Drastic & abrupt changes led to challenging scenarios where students struggled to adapt and acclimatize with all the changes. Simultaneously, the provisioning of online education systems became a significant economic challenge for families. Finally, changes in teaching paradigms, assignment & assessment procedures and learning environment required both students & their parents to change their ideas & approaches to education.
In this article, we focus on the impact of online education on families in particular.
Understanding The Effect Of Online Learning On Parents & Families
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to rapid transitions and transformations in educational systems. For example, in a survey conducted by the United States of America’s Census Bureau in 2020, around 93% of households across the country adopted some form of online learning as Covid-19 took hold.
These shifts occurred within a matter of months, and such rapid disruptions & transitions pose several challenges for students & families. While students struggle to adapt, families had to shell out substantial amounts of money to afford necessary resources for online learning. Lower-income families from poor socio-economic backgrounds face dire situations, and in extreme circumstances, students from such families have no other choice but to drop out. According to National Education Association of the USA, issues of accessibility and affordability have affected approximate 13.5 million children aged 5 to 17.
What Parents Across The USA Think?
Families across the US struggled to understand how online learning impacts education, skill development and family dynamics. With time, the myriad impact of online education on families became clearer.
- All across the US, parents are highly concerned about their children failing to acquire the pass grades due to disruptions and inability to adapt to online learning. A survey by the Pew Research Center estimated more than 65% of parents harbors such worries.
- 63% of parents have concerns regarding their children having too much screen time.
- 60% considered online learning to be a major obstacle to outdoor activities & social learning, which are essential for making social connections.
- 59% of parents raised concerns about their child’s mental well-being.
All such concerns, however, cannot be just attributed to the limitations of online learning. Instead, socioeconomic factors, learning difficulties, different learning styles, and the learning environment affect the overall impact of online learning on students and their families.
Digital inequity, lack of a conducive learning environment and poor engagement & motivation are serious concerns arising from inadequate family income, personal problems and flawed learning styles.
Impact On Family Dynamics
As online education became the only way to continue learning after Covid-19, parents began transforming the rooms in their houses into classrooms. Study desks and dining tables became class desks, and the surroundings needed to be free of all distractions & disruptions.
Online education compelled parents to take a much more active role in the education of their wards. They needed to guide students through the many challenges of online education. As a result, families, parents, grandparents, siblings & even relatives began to assist learners in any way they could. Instead of teachers, families were now at hand during virtual classroom sessions and acted as on-premises assistants for online teachers.
An article by Learning Heroes showed that many parents across the 50 states spent more than 2.5 hours helping students with their schoolwork.
Overall, the reception and impact of online education across US families are mixed with positives and negatives, just like everywhere else in the world. However, almost every parent across America has one major complaint: the distance, the complete digitization of education, lack of proper guidance & monitoring and impersonal nature nullifies the main benefits of online learning.
The following section shine light upon the opinions of parents across China regarding online education during the pandemic. Their opinions are strikingly similar to that of their American counterparts.
Impact Of Online Education On Families In China
A research article on the effects of online education on parents in China during the Covid-19 pandemic unearths some striking insights.
- Sixty-nine percent of parents reported that their children had more than 3 hours of daily screen time but a significant reduction in daily outdoor activity. In addition, 95% of parents were concerned with their ward’s eyesight. And, an equivalent portion of guardians suspected children to suffer from emotional & behavioral problems due to constant remote learning.
- 9% of surveyed parents believed that their children were interested in online education from home. However, 57.4 % considered that there was not enough interaction during online classes compared to conventional schooling.
- 50% of parents strongly agreed that effective monitoring is necessary during online education.
- Overall, 95.6% of surveyed parents preferred classroom learning & traditional schooling to online education or any other schooling styles.
In its final discussions, the research survey indicated that most parents across China did not consider home a conducive, long-term learning environment. Thus, they emphasized appropriate shifts in teaching paradigms with an increased focus on learning rather than teaching.
More than 90% of surveyed Chinese families expressed serious concerns about children’s eyesight. And, around 17.6% were worried about the rise of emotional and behavioral problems due to lack of social interactions. While the percentage is relatively low, the concerns are not at all unfounded.
Mental Concerns Due to Online Learning
Emotional and mental concerns have also been a cause of stress for families. The uncertainty, disruptions, and devastation due to the pandemic have taken a toll on even the most resilient individuals. In addition, struggles with adapting to drastic changes have led to pressing emotional concerns among students.
The most prominent among them are:
- Depression: Lack of personal and social interactions due to online education can lead to depressive tendencies. With a continual lack of such social interaction, young, learning minds may even lose the confidence of interacting effortlessly.
- Stress & Tension: Most students are afraid of losing marks due to inadequacies in adjusting to continual remote learning. The stress & anxiety associated with such fears & worries harms the minds and bodies of these young students to a significant extent.
In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to widespread lay-offs and firings all around. In households where a significant source of income has been cut off, proper education and learning become next to impossible. Students from such families experience excessive mental stress and often have no other choice but to drop out.
The Prominent Positives
Yet, all is not grim and dark with online education, and the following points highlight some of the major positives.
- Parents feel more connected to their children’s learning thanks to online education.
- They can better understand the learning styles, strengths & weaknesses and requirements of their children. With their parents supporting them throughout, students can find renewed motivation and tackle stress & pressure better.
- Parents get to understand what they are learning better and, in the long run, develop a better relationship with their wards, teachers & tutors.
Key Takeaway: Online education has become a significant counterpart of traditional classroom learning in the past few years. In future, it will be a major learning avenue parallel to the conventional ones despite its limitations and disadvantages. However, everyone, from students & families to teachers, authorities & policymakers, needs to work together to mitigate those limitations to ensure a brighter future.
Author-Bio: Rose Haughes is a professor of pedagogy and sociology gives Report Writing Help also from a major public university in Illinois, the USA. She is also a contributing writer and part-time tutor at MyAssignmenthelp.com, USA’s leading online academic and assignment help service provider.