The corona crisis affects the well-being, learning and education of children and adolescents in many different ways. It is likely that in most children, the long-term disadvantages of the corona crisis are related to the economic and social impacts on families with children. However, it is possible to minimise the detrimental effects on their well-being. For example, the negative effects of parental unemployment on children's education are most effectively reduced by preventing unemployment itself. The most effective way would be to support sectors vulnerable to the crisis in a way that those who have been made redundant and unemployed can return to work as quickly as possible.
Researchers of the INVEST flagship have published a policy brief on the long-term effects of the corona crisis on learning, education and well-being of children and adolescents.
Mechanisms affecting the learning and well-being of children and adolescents have been researched in several studies. Long-term effects can be predicted using the same theoretical models, which explain the effects of a families background on children’s and adolescents’ education and social attachment. The corona crisis reinforces the same mechanisms.
- Already, the crisis has increased family unemployment, the level of debt and the number of families receiving income support, says Jani Erola, Professor of Sociology. The means to limit the problems caused by the corona crisis are those that have a positive impact on learning, education and well-being even without a corona. - For example, it is most effective to reduce the negative effects of parental unemployment on children's education by preventing unemployment itself and ensuring that those made redundant and unemployed can return to work as quickly as possible by supporting vulnerable sectors, Erola explains.
In order to prevent the negative long-term effects of income support, it is worthwhile to target social support at families. Increasing family support so that there is no need for an income support is probably the best way to prevent problems.
Adolescents can be influenced by increasing student counceling in the transitional periods of education, especially in areas of high unemployment. Support for disadvantaged families and the promotion of the health of children and parents should also be targeted at reducing the health hazards caused by the socio-economic causes of the corona crisis. At the same time, care must be taken to ensure that the availability of preventative services and unhurried care is not reduced.
The policy brief examines the effects of the corona crisis in terms of transition to home schooling, parental unemployment, families’ need for income support, parent’s relationship problems, the accumulation of deprivation and health effects.
The Inequalities, Interventions, and New Welfare State (INVEST) aims at increasing wellbeing of Finnish society during childhood, youth and early adulthood and preventing psychosocial risks compromising such development through innovative interventions. INVEST is a flagship project of the Academy of Finland.