How to Prevent Physical Distancing From Leading to Social Disconnection
While lockdowns and nationwide restrictions have affected all of us, there is perhaps no other age group more at risk of developing mental health problems than young people. The younger the age, the more devastating our “new normal” of self-isolation is on a person.
Children today have experienced an unprecedented year that no adult can genuinely relate to in modern times. During what many of us adults look back to as being the prime and carefree times of our life, today’s adolescents have had to endure the socially claustrophobic and isolating rigors of a worldwide pandemic. Namely, the restrictiveness and mental health consequences of being cut off from your neighbors, friends, classmates, and family members.
Long ago are the days when kids were blissfully unaware of things like zoom conference calls, pandemics, and the act of quarantining. Rather than meeting new kids at school, or other participating social gatherings, they have been subjected to a way of life that would have been inconceivable at any other point in America’s modern history.
Studies show that America is at its highest rate of loneliness (which, to be honest, was something I never thought would be able to be measured, let alone necessary previous to the days of COVID-19). With this in mind, and as the following author from Youth Today informs his audience in the next article, now is the time we need to display the most empathy and proactive actions towards our nation’s youth.
The following is a link to an article from Youth Today, where authors David Shapiro and Jean Eddy present four ways to strengthen adolescents’ connection. When “physical togetherness” is much less something to be frowned upon as it is gravely and socially irresponsible, their advice is exceptionally engaging and helpful.
See what they have to say by clicking the link below.
For the young people in our lives and our communities, we can strengthen the connection in four ways:
- Be mindful. As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads, it may trigger trauma for young people impacted by the virus or the news surrounding the pandemic. Let young people know that you see them and are there for them.
- Be intentional about relationships with youth. Acknowledge what is going on and engage in a dialogue about the pandemic. This also means understanding and honoring your own emotions and theirs.
- Be in it together. Workplaces, schools, businesses, and communities must think about the unique role they each place in a young person’s life and step up to keep kids a priority.
- Be communicative. Healthy and supportive relationships are crucial for youth and especially at this moment. Be clear about how you will stay in touch, make a plan, and stick to it. This lets the young people in your life know that you care, value the relationship, and will show up for them even if you’re physically apart.