The Effect of COVID-19 on Adolescence

The COVID-19 pandemic has had unprecedented impact on humans since the first case was reported in late 2019, changing the way humans, as social beings, operate. Due to the dangers of the virus, many governments across the world have been putting stringent measures for curtailing the further spread of the infection. Social isolation has been a primary measure instituted in many places, according to Lindberg et al. (2020).

This safety method has negatively impacted adolescents, especially through the closure of schools (Lindberg et al. 2020). From paused school calendars to changed social connections, the pandemic has continued to impact young people negatively, posing a serious threat to their future well-being. With parents losing jobs and cutting down on expenses, COVID-19 has affected populations, especially school-going teenagers, in multifaceted ways. Lindberg et al. (2020) argued that social isolation remained a norm for the better part of the year 2020, there exist many challenges that adolescents are fighting today, including helplessness, depression, anxiety, fear, and worry.

Among the major effects of COVID-19 on adolescence is the disruption of programs through the school’s closure, making it hard for teenagers to meet their peers. Lockdowns curtailed their movement hence making friends inaccessible. In some instances, communication was difficult, especially among adolescents from low-income families (Lindberg et al. 2020). School-going teens depend on mobile devices to keep their social connections active. Due to the pandemic’s difficult economic times, through a widespread loss of jobs, adolescents from less privileged families have their social connections suffering most (Siza, 2020).

A high debt ratio compounded by limited earnings has been difficult for this class of adolescents since they depend on their parents for Wi-Fi to facilitate their communication (Lindberg et al. 2020). Adolescents have different needs than adults, and thus, this stage of development comes with an elevated urge to make and maintain social networks and separate from parents (Lindberg et al. 2020). Additionally, families’ inability to meet budgets and other household expenses negatively impact teenagers’ mental health because they could see their parents suffer to provide them with basic needs.

Domestic violence and increased danger of child sexual abuse are major impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on adolescence. According to Lindberg et al. (2020), due to an abrupt change of events, and the mandatory stay with family members, adolescents are at a greater danger of abuse in the United States. On the one hand, strict parents negatively impact them by limiting or prohibiting them from using communication devices. This social isolation causes emotional helplessness because such young people are used to having active social connections at schools. Thus, without communication, this can lead to negative mental health impacts.

On the other hand, irresponsible parents failed to assume their duties of monitoring their child’s behavior, thus, exposing them to the dangers of child sexual abuse. Similarly, adolescents developed resentment and inattentiveness hence allowing deviant behaviors to creep in, especially drug abuse. Additionally, according to Lindberg et al. (2020), parents had to change their schedules and work from home to monitor their children, which is a big margin that led to behavioral change problems among their children.

Stress is another effect of COVID-19 on adolescents. Lindberg et al. (2020) argue that “the nervous system during adolescence is always on a vulnerable period of development and can be affected by prolonged exposure to chronic stress.” Social isolation results to stress during childhood, and it can potentially harm young people mentally. Though approached from medical or biological aspects, anxiety, stress, and hopelessness are the most common impacts of isolation among adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic period. Without proper care at the right time, stress can elevate to less manageable levels resulting in a mental breakdown and, in some instances, suicidal thoughts. Therefore, stress emanating from social isolation threatened the safety of adolescents, especially those within quarantined populations.

Prolonged exposure to chronic stress in most cases leads to dysfunction of the brain’s inflammatory mediators, thus negatively impacting the immune system of affected persons. In addition to post-traumatic disorder, this makes adolescents susceptible to psychopathological conditions in adulthood. For instance, according to a survey by Lindberg et al. (2020), many quarantined adolescents showed signs of fear, worry, helplessness, and anxiety, meaning that the Covid-19 pandemic impacted negatively their psychological well-being.

In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way social connections work, negatively impacting people in different age brackets, including adolescents. Among numerous containment measures to cut the transmission chains of the virus, lockdowns have been a major strategy employed by many countries worldwide. Closure of schools and restriction of movement have led to widespread social isolation, making it difficult for adolescents to maintain social connections.

This has made social connections difficult to maintain and, in large margins, exposed teenagers to domestic violence. Additionally, due to unlimited free time, this social group was vulnerable to early pregnancies and marriages. Finally child sexual abuse has been an issue of concern as well as stress, anxiety, and depression for adolescents in lockdown areas.

Reference

Lindberg, L. D., Bell, D. L., & Kantor, L. M. (2020). The Sexual and reproductive health of adolescents and young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. Web.

Siza, R. (2020). In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic: economic insecurity and coping strategies of Italian households. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy. 12(3), 102-149. Web.