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The social and psychological impact of COVID-19 on children

The international day of education took place on the 24th of January. It provided an opportunity to evaluate the effects of COVID-19 on the health of children and adolescents. The closure of schools, the lockdowns and on-line teaching have all had an effect on their physical and mental health.

For the youngest children, the first years of school are vital, especially if they receive little stimulation at home. For older children, schools and universities offer a great deal more than a diploma: they give students the opportunity to acquire social skills necessary for their adult lives such as self-confidence, autonomy, etc.. It is not only schools that are closed; cultural, sporting and religious events have all come to a standstill. So young people are currently being deprived of the social relations necessary to their well-being and development.

Time spent at home has inevitably increased, as has domestic violence and abusive behaviour. But certain categories of schoolchildren have been more seriously affected, depending on the country they live in, most notably those from deprived backgrounds and girls in general. Some children, for example, no longer have the only substantial meal of the day that they were given in school canteens. The economic crisis has pushed certain households to marry their daughters off at an early age to provide a source of income.  

A high level of education is an investment for health, while good health is necessary for good learning. Schools have been closed in order to halt the progress of COVID-19 and prevent infection. But there has been a negative impact on the physical and mental health of children and adolescents.

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