York County Medicine Summer 2020 - 21

YO R K C O M E D S O C . O R G

WAIT! Are there not any possible positive impacts of
COVID-19 and physical distancing? Actually, there are!
1. Children who were previously bullied may have been able to
avoid much of that due to online schooling.
2. Some autistic children reported that online schooling is
easier for them as they did not have to deal with so many social
cues that are difficult for them to decipher.
3. Children from well-functioning homes may now have
deeper, stronger and more positive relationships with their family
members. This, in turn, supports their ability to have positive
relationships with others.

being able to experience the science lab experiment rather than
just watch it on a screen, for being able to run happily across the
playground with friends.
13. Children who played games, laughed and enjoyed family
interactions during Stay-At-Home experienced the positive
benefits of oxytocin. The good news is that children from
dysfunctional homes could have experienced similar benefits if
they had a familiar pet to stroke.

5. Teenagers who improved their ability to study
independently are better prepared for success in college.

The conclusion, then, is that COVID-19 may have the same
kind of impact on children that many other life events will have.
This impact can be determined by a variety of factors including
the child's family life; the child's experiences with school, faith,
peers and emotions; and the child's own ability to disconnect
from screens and engage with the people around them. As the
world moves through this unprecedented event and scientists
work to gather answers, our understanding of the real impact of
COVID-19 on children will naturally grow.

6. Children who experienced "too much" electronics may
choose to interact with peers when they are together (as opposed
to the previously common scenario of texting the peer sitting

BUT let's look back at those children who experienced a
negative family life during Stay-At-Home measures. Are they
doomed?

4. Children who had adults teaching and modeling
appropriate ways to deal with increased stress had the opportunity
to learn skills they can use throughout their lives.

next to them).
7. Children who internalized the message that "we are all in
this together" may place a higher value on the life of all people
and thus treat others with more kindness.
8. Empathy may have been built in children whose parents
guided them to help others (i.e. write cards to elderly, do the
shopping for a disabled neighbor, tie a carnation with an uplifting
note on every neighbor's mailbox).
9. Children who chose to use physical exercise, such as
running, as a way to safely get out of the house will be in better
physical shape.
10. Children who lost a loved one to the virus may be inspired
by that experience to find cures for all kinds of illnesses.
11. As a variety of activities such as sports no longer filled
children's time, they may have had more time with their family,
strengthening the foundation of their faith which can lead to
improved internal moral and ethical standards.
12. One result from all learning being online may be that
children have a greater appreciation for being able to be in class
with a live teacher who can respond promptly to a question, for

Gavin de Becker in his book The Gift Of Fear (pages 272 -
277) tells about a time when he was speaking to prisoners. As
Gavin shared about the extreme domestic violence he experienced
growing up, an inmate asked, "Why are you sitting over there
and I'm over here?" Gavin had experienced the same horrors
that many of the inmates did, so why was Gavin a successful and
prosperous adult while they were in prison? Gavin's answer was
that at an important time in his life an adult invested himself in
Gavin, but at an important time in the inmates' lives no one did.
"If a child has some effective human contact at particularly
significant periods, some recognition of his worth and value...
this can make an extraordinary difference. I have learned that
the kindness of a teacher, a coach, a police officer, a neighbor,
the parent of a friend, is never wasted. These moments are likely
to pass with neither the child nor the adult fully knowing the
significance of that contribution...Though nothing apparent marks
the occasion, inside that child a new view of self might take hold."
Gavin de Becker
What influence will you have in lives of children around you as
they deal with the impact of COVID-19?

SUMMER 2020 | York County Medicine

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York County Medicine Summer 2020

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