Literacy Learning in a Multimedia World Assignment 1

Wow…. COVID-19 really had a negative effect on our children!

Isn’t this photograph amazing! It is crazy how such a small thing has created such large problems!

CDC (2020). Coronavirus. Available at: https://unsplash.com/photos/k0KRNtqcjfw (Accessed: 11/11/2020)

2020 has generally been an awful year for all of us… however, our children may be suffering much more than any of us, which is truly heart breaking! From not going to school, to not seeing their friends and family, children would have suffered mentally, physically, and most importantly, academically. There are currently “8.89 million pupils in English schools” who may have been affected by the worldwide pandemic. That being said, not everyone is surrounded with the fastest internet, or any internet at all, to complete their studies so may severely struggle to complete their education at home.

This article is going to cover and discuss different negative factors that children in the world, specifically focusing on the United Kingdom, have faced during the worldwide pandemic. These will include:

  • How disadvantaged children have been affected with the lack of technology.
  • The implications COVID-19 has had on children’s mental health.
Annie Spratt (2020). Young teen doing schoolwork at home after UK schools close due to the Coronavirus. Available at: https://unsplash.com/photos/ZsWaYLImZFs (Accessed: 11/11/2020)

Disadvantaged Children and Technology

With there being 8.89 million pupils in the United Kingdom, over 4 million of them are considered ‘disadvantaged’ and their families may struggle with financial problems. There are several reasons why children from lower class backgrounds may have struggled much more during the pandemic academically compared to children from a more privileged home. Douglas (1964), noted several reasons why material deprivation outside of school can affect achievement and this can be transformed into modern terms, which could include:

  • Lack of technology.
  • Lack of internet access.
  • Not a space to study/work in the house as there may be over cramping.

Many families may not be able to facilitate the best internet broadband in their house so academically many individuals would have suffered. This would automatically create a massive disadvantage to several children worldwide, as they may not be able to gain access to the same documents and work as the rest of the children in their class. It was recorded by Cullinane and Montacute (2020), that 30% of children from a middle class background took part in live and recorded lessons online every day during the lockdown in March (UK), however, only 16% of children from a working class background did which is considerably lower.

Annie Spratt (2020). Child completing homework on iMac. Available at: https://unsplash.com/photos/kqji2lAh4F0 (Accessed: 11/11/2020)

Financial Implications =

Many households may lack access to technology. Technology can be pricey, and not everyone would be able to afford it, especially with many people facing ‘furlough’ during lockdown so their income is already decreasing massively. If the family does not have a laptop, tablet or any kind of usable technology to study, or even afford to buy one, then they may struggle to complete work they are set by their teachers, which was mostly done online. It is estimated that 9% of families (UK) don’t have access to technology.

So…how much is the average cost of a laptop?

Looking on the Currys/PC World website, a laptop can range anywhere between £200 to over £600!!! Which is a ridiculous amount of money which many families will not be able to afford!

In April, the UK government announced a free laptop scheme, however, only 200,000 devices were available for the pupils and with there being 4 million disadvantaged children, this was not enough…!

Alex Knight (2017). White cup and MacBook. Available at: https://unsplash.com/photos/j4uuKnN43_M (Accessed: 30/11/2020)

Noted from a study conducted during lockdown, 15% of teachers, based in a deprived school (UK), concluded that more than a third of pupils in their class did not have adequate access to electrical devices to work at home. This really is a staggering amount!

COVID-19 and Mental Health

At least one point in your life, you would probably have felt negative effects on your mental health. Agreed? Maybe COVID-19 has made it worse? Imagine how the children in the world are feeling right now…

Young Minds (2020) quoted that “74% of teachers and staff agreed that schools being closed to most students over the period of lockdown had a negative impact on the mental health of young people”. Some children may be too young to understand why all of a sudden they are being made to social distance from others and not leave the house! I know from being in that situation, I found it really hard to adjust, did you too?

Anthony Tran (2018). Available at: https://unsplash.com/photos/vXymirxr5ac (Accessed: 12/11/2020)

However, technology may be extremely important for the children who may be struggling massively during the pandemic. There are now social media platforms and other ways of communication where children are able to talk to their friends online without having to see them in person, for example:

  • Facetime
  • Zoom
  • Online gaming platforms
  • Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat (in age of course!)
Dole777 (2020). Available at: https://unsplash.com/photos/gPet7PdxI1Q (Accessed: 12/11/2020)

My Experiences during lockdown =

From my experiences during lockdown, I found it really difficult not being able to see friends and family, however, the concept of using social media and other platforms to contact people helped my mental health enormously. This is why the internet and media platforms are so important during this day and age! The impact it has on people’s lives every day is really astonishing and helps so many people each day!”

However, taking this back to more disadvantaged children…. their mental health may have suffered significantly. Especially because they may not have had the facilities to contact their peers. They may have relied an awful lot on seeing their friends and family in person but obviously would not have been able to over the period of lockdown. This makes me feel really upset for all the millions of children in the United Kingdom, and the rest of the world, who have not been able to have any contact with others outside their household.

Overall, the impact children have faced over the past year has been devastating. The childhood years were the best years, in my opinion anyway, so to think about all the memories children would have missed out at school…. Nevertheless, the children would definitely make memories during lockdown with their families which would last a lifetime!! I believe that technology is definitely one of the best things that could happen to our world and we are so fortunate to be able to be surrounded by it.

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