About 47% of children from Romania used only their mobile phone to attend classes online, well above the average of other EU countries, as shown in a study realized by Save the Children Romania.
The study shows that the closure of schools, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, had negative consequences in terms of children’s educational development, in terms of health emotions about certain things, and more, about their online safety. The data from Save the Children survey shows that almost half of the children do not have access to a tablet or a computer, the only devices which allow a real online participation. Also, over 50% of them said that one of the major risks of that period consist in an internet addiction and as such, an exposure to aggressive information and fake news.
The data are extracted from the study “Impact of Covid-19 on children in Romania“, launched this week by Save the Children Romania, after consulting 5,000 Romanian children from primary, secondary and high school, through an online survey.
Closing schools and arbitrarily organizing online school courses led to extreme situations. One of these is particularly serious: restricting access to education for vulnerable children without internet access and/or devices to allow them to participate online.
What do Romanian children say about online courses?
• 47% of children had only cell phone guidance to attend online courses, and 27.2% of children had uncovered school subjects on the suspended period of courses.
• Boredom is the main negative feeling of children (47.5%), followed by fatigue (32.7%), sadness (27.1%) and anger (23.2%). Young children, especially in the primary cycle of studies, felt stronger negative impact on isolation.
• 57.4% of children said they were on the phone, tablet or computer for a main recreational activity, followed by time spent on TV (44.9%) and time spent on social networks (40.8%). 7 out of 10 children admit to spending between 3 and 4 hours online a day, and 20.7% over 6 hours.
• 54.7% of children admit that the biggest risk was in this case an internet addiction. Fake news is on the next place, followed by online bullying.
Among the recommendations of the Report, extremely important for Romania is the commitment to increase education funding which is the only way to implement measures and recovery plans at national level for the education system in this context of COVID-19.
“We [children] represent the future of this country and only when the authorities will realize this thing and they will do something about it, the country will go in the right direction” said one of the 5,000 children consulted by Save the Children Romania.