Survey: 1 in 2 Kids Had Trouble Paying Attention While Learning Remotely During the Pandemic

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It goes without saying that 2020 was an extremely difficult year, for all of us. Whether the pandemic has affected our personal lives or the trajectory of our careers, we’ve all felt its impact throughout the past months, and we were not the only ones. Our children have beared the brunt of this pandemic in an entirely different way, as their education experienced a massive shift. Many children were forced to stay home and adapt to a remote learning system, while their parents were struggling with working from home, as well. A lot of these parents and children were not prepared for these changes, emphasizing once again the importance of a digital education across generations.

At Da Vinci Center, we know firsthand how difficult it has been for parents and children to adapt to this new global situation. We’ve been doing our best to assist and support parents and children during these troubled times, and we’ve gained a lot of insight in the process. 

One of the steps we’ve taken to gain perspective and understand how parents and children are coping with this new education style was to run a national survey targeting parents. In this survey, we asked parents about remote learning and the impact it’s had on their children, what changes they’ve noticed, and how they’ve adapted to the new situation. Keep reading to see what they told us.

54% of parents said their kids were learning exclusively from home 

We kicked things off by asking parents what kind of system their children were using at the time of the survey. 54% of parents said their children were learning remotely, while 30% were learning in a hybrid system and 10% were going to school in-person. 

The rules concerning the reopening of schools keep changing as the pandemic evolves, so depending on the situation, children can switch from remote to hybrid to in-person learning. This can be very stressful for children and their parents alike. The good news is that our survey showed that 53% of children were exposed to online education pre-pandemic, so they were already at least a little bit familiar with this system. Unfortunately, many children had not had that experience, and for them, the sudden switch to home learning was more challenging. 

4 out of 5 children use a laptop or computer to learn remotely

Learning from home is obviously impossible these days without access to technology and the internet. Luckily, 81% of parents said their children had access to a laptop or computer to study, while 57% also used a tablet, and 55% had a smartphone. 71% of parents also said their children had their own devices to use for school, and only 23% shared devices with their parents or other members of the family. 

Studying or attending classes through a smartphone screen is not ideal, of course, but it’s still better than nothing. The troubling part is that 2% of parents said their children had no devices they could use to learn. It might seem like a small percentage, but what it shows is that there are children whose education has come to a halt because they don’t have access to technology. 

65% of parents bought devices for their kids since the start of the pandemic

We wanted to see what steps parents took to help their kids learn effectively and productively from home, so we asked what items (if any) they purchased to this end since the start of the pandemic. 

65% of parents bought items or devices for their children, to help them be more comfortable or more productive while learning from home. 56% of respondents said they bought a laptop or computer for their children, while 48% purchased headphones to help kids focus. Other parents bought tablets, smartphones, webcams, desks, and ergonomic chairs. 

Parents say their kids are more productive during classes, but less motivated to do their homework

Naturally, we also wanted to gage the impact that home learning has had on children, and how it’s impacted their productivity and motivation. 40% of parents who participated in our survey said that their kids are more productive learning remotely, which is good news. 

However, 42% of parents also told us that their children are less motivated when it comes to doing their homework. What this tells us is that children are engaged in classes, possibly because there are no other pupils around to distract them, but when it comes to homework, they have trouble keeping motivated. This most likely has to do with a lack of separation between school and home. Just as adults have trouble sometimes maintaining a healthy work/life balance, children can have trouble keeping focused on homework after hours spent in online classes at the computer. 

52% of parents say their kids have trouble paying attention while learning remotely

One of the most interesting, and also troubling, findings from our survey is the fact that 52% of parents said children had trouble paying attention while learning from home. A stable internet connection is the most common issue parents and children encounter, which is not that surprising. But the fact that staying focused and attentive is second on this list only serves to emphasize the need for tailored education meant for children with learning difficulties, like ADHD or other attention deficit disorders. 

Other issues that parents and children encountered while learning remotely include video and sound issues, distractions at home, trouble understanding the teacher, and too many people talking at once during online classes. 

Over 70% of parents think private online tutoring could be useful for their children

Learning from home isn’t the best fit for every child, just like remote work is not for everyone. Some children, particularly those with learning difficulties, might find it challenging to adapt to learning from home, with so many distractions and devices surrounding them. These children could benefit from some extra help, such as personalized tutoring classes with trained specialists. 

Parents seem to agree with this: 42% of parents said private tutoring classes could possibly benefit their kids, while 30% said tutoring classes would definitely help. Most of the parents who participated in our survey also said they would prefer that this private tutoring classes were held online. 

Some parents are already embracing tutoring as a means of helping their child learn more effectively. 43% of parents said their children were already taking extra classes to boost productivity. 

More than 60% of parents trust that schools and authorities are doing the best they can

Despite the chaos and anxiety that defined the past year, parents have not lost trust in their local and national authorities. We asked parents whether they thought schools and authorities are doing everything they can to make sure kids can return to school safely. 63% of parents said that yes, they believe schools are doing their best to ensure a safe return.

We also asked parents if they think the competent authorities are doing enough to ensure that children have everything they need to continue their education, and the response was once again a positive one. 60% of parents said they thought authorities are doing all they can, while 21% gave a negative answer. This goes to show that parents remain hopeful and positive and rely on schools and institutions to help children return to school, safely. 

Methodology

The Da Vinci Center team reached out to parents across the U.S., encouraging them to participate in this survey, which was created through Pollfish. Our participants have children ranging in age from 3 to 22+ years, which are enrolled in classes from kindergarten all the way through university. 

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