The indirect effects of COVID-19 on children are “long-lasting”: experts


research According to a study conducted by the University of Melbourne and the Royal Children’s Hospital, the indirect effects of COVID-19 may have “wide and long-term effects on children.”

Children are generally pandemic problems with little health impact, but the restrictions enforced to control the illness can have indirect consequences in the long run.

The research, Leaded by Professor Sharon Goldfield, has identified three broad areas of issues that require intervention. It’s child level, family level, and service level.

Academically, distance learning has resulted in impaired student involvement, especially in children who are already facing difficulties or who belong to a family with a low parental education.

The authors write that “almost half of Australia’s student population is at risk of significant learning loss due to the closure of schools associated with COVID-19, as they are first-year students or are experiencing adversity. I owe it. “

Decreased physical activity and increased screen time can also affect a child’s lifestyle and physical health. In a longitudinal study conducted during a pandemic in Australia and 13 other countries, children averaged 55 minutes more screen time per day and 81 minutes less per day in field activities on weekdays. ..

At service levels, the pandemic closure of schools has affected children in need of school-promoted health care, such as free lunches and mental health care. The authors reported that “although referrals to children’s mental health services have declined significantly, the unprecedented rise has increased demand for services that have already gone too far.”

Some parents have reported the impact of the pandemic on their mental health. Pole (pdf) Forty-six percent of parents conducted by Royal Children’s Hospital report that the pandemic had a negative impact on their mental health. However, in the same survey, 75% of parents feel family intimacy and 42% say they have become more connected to their children since the pandemic.

Lifeline Australia reported that it made the most calls in 58 years of history during the first week of August 2021 during the period when most of Australia was blocked.

Family stress has also been reported to increase, with some parents reporting increased parent-child tension. It was also difficult for some parents to balance work, caring for their children, and supporting their children’s distance learning needs.

Pandemic restrictions also showed an increased incidence of abuse-related head injuries among children at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as the pandemic progressed, reports of child abuse hotlines declined significantly. The report speculated that it was likely due primarily to reduced contact between children and educators and medical services.

The team said that the possible imbalanced effects of the current pandemic on children experiencing adversity could potentially widen the gap in the outcomes of children’s health and development and have long-term effects. I was worried that there was.

Goldfield and her colleagues have proposed five potential strategic areas in which these inequality can be addressed. Expand the role of schools to address learning gaps and well-being. Rethink healthcare delivery to address reduced access. Use of digital solutions to address unfair service delivery, focusing on mental health prevention and early intervention.

“History shows us that children who are already experiencing adversity can lose the most and increase health inequality,” the team writes.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the potential for transformation that can realize the health aspirations of children in the community. Better and better for children today and adults of the future. We have the opportunity to build a fair Australia, “they conclude.

Marina Chan

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Marina Chan is a Melbourne-based Australian reporter with a focus on Australian news. Contact her at [email protected]