The closing of schools, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, had negative consequences both on the educational progress of children, as well as on their emotional health and their online safety, according to a study published, on Tuesday, by the Save the Children organization, during a videoconference.
According to the study “The impact of the COVID-19 crisis and quarantine on children in Romania,” nearly 50 pct of children do not have access to a tablet or a computer, the only devices that can allow for a real participation in online classes, and over 50 pct say that one of the major risks of this period was internet addiction and, as a consequence, exposure to aggressive content and fake news.
Asked if during the suspension of school courses they participated in online classes, 72.8 pct of children answered that they attended all classes, 21.5 pct only some classes, 4.1 pct very rarely and 1.6 pct not at all.
To the question “For you, how was the homework received during online schooling?”, 40.8 pct said they remained the same, 36.6 pct – they were harder/took more time, 16.9 pct – they were simpler/took less time, for 2.2 pct they were very hard and could not be completed, 1 pct said they did not receive homework, and 2.5 pct did not answer.
Three of ten children claimed they were pleased with the quality of online interaction with teachers (30.6 pct), and 13.1 pct that they wished to speak more with them and receive advice to successfully pass the state of emergency, 11.6 pct showed that they did not speak directly with the teachers, 36.8 pct were sufficiently pleased they could speak to the teachers and receive help, while 6.5 pct did not answer and 1.4 pct had a different answer.
The study indicated that 68.9 pct of students said they went through the curriculum with no problems, 22.9 have remained behind, while 8.25 pct did not want to respond.
Boredom was the main negative feeling felt by children (22.3 pct), followed by tiredness (31.7 pct), sadness (38.3 pct) and fury (38.6 pct). Under 40 pct of children stated that they felt calm (37.5 pct) or joyful (35.5 pct).
The main activities in spare time after the suspension of courses in schools were for 57.4 pct of children playing on phones/tablets/computer, 44.9 pct – watching TV, 40 pct – various recreational activities with the family, 40.8 pct – social networks, 39.8 pct – speaking on the phone with relatives and friends, and 37.2 pct read. 1.7 pct did not answer, and 1.9 pct said they had other activities.
According to Save the Children, the study, of the “sociological investigation/opinion poll” type, was conducted on a sample of 4,792 children in the June – July period. The data was collected online. The target groups were pupils in the primary, gymnasium and high school cycles, the sample being non-probabilistic. The analysis of the data was done by procedures specific to descriptive or inferential statistic.