If you suspected that virtual learning had a negative impact on your kids during the pandemic, you're absolutely right. A new study conducted by the University of Michigan confirms that virtual learning had a negative impact on students, leading to academic, social, and sleep issues.

An estimated 55 million children in the US were affected by changes that impacted the way they attended school and completed assignments over the last two years.

Dr. Kimberley Levitt is a Clinical Assistant Professor for the Division of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics at the University of Michigan and a Researcher for Michigan Medicine. She says a lot fell to parents as they attempted to help their children with online learning.

“Parents were trying to do their best, educators were trying to do their best," Levitts says. “We’re now seeing the manifestation of these disruptions in families’ lives and how different school formats affected our kids, not only academically but emotionally and socially.”


The Study Conducted by U of M

Researchers surveyed roughly 300 parents in Michigan who have children ranging from 5 to 10 years old, attending kindergarten through fifth grade. The study was conducted during the months of February and March of 2021. Researchers say they focused on younger children because they typically require more adult support during virtual learning.

Key Findings

The study found that as families faced the challenges of the pandemic, children in virtual school exhibited more issues such as:

  • Behavioral issues at home
  • Social Challenges with peers
  • Less motivation to learn.

The study goes on to say that children in remote school environments showed significantly more signs of hyperactivity, and problems interacting with peers.

Academically, school was overall more challenging and because routines were interrupted students were less likely to be academically motivated or socially engaged. Students were more likely to show defiance and resistance when it came to completing schoolwork.

Parents also reported that students who were engaged in online learning tended to suffer from sleep issues. They often took longer to fall asleep, awakened more during the night, and even reported more nightmares.

The full report and its key findings can be found here.


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