National voices like the educator's non-profit resource Northwest Evaluation Association (or NWEA), social science researchers with Measure of America, and researchers with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, to name a few, have reported that our nation’s children of all ages have suffered because of the COVID lockdowns.
Unfortunately, we’re just beginning to understand the effects of the pandemic on our children. Years of investigation will be required to gain a complete understanding of the long-term effects. However, here’s what we do know now:
Disrupted Education: Lockdowns resulted in school closures and a shift to remote learning, which created challenges for students. Not all students had equal access to technology or a conducive learning environment, leading to disparities in education. Some students struggled with virtual learning, which affected their academic performance.
Mental Health Issues: Social isolation, uncertainty, fear of the virus, and disruption of routines had adverse effects on the mental health of many young people. Feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness were prevalent, and it has limited access to mental health resources during the pandemic.
Loss of Social Interaction: Lockdowns and restrictions limited young people’s opportunities for socializing, which is a crucial aspect of their development. Many missed out on social events, gatherings, and extracurricular activities, affecting their social and emotional growth.
Financial Strain: Some American youth faced financial difficulties due to job losses or reduced hours of part-time work. This financial strain affected their ability to meet basic needs and led to added stress.
Health Risks: While children and young adults faced lower risks of severe COVID-19 outcomes compared to older adults, some youth with underlying health conditions were vulnerable. Additionally, there were concerns about the potential spread of the virus from young people to more vulnerable populations.
Impact on Future Opportunities: The pandemic’s economic impact and disruption to education may have long-term consequences for young people’s career prospects and earning potential.
Adolescents and young adults, from teens to college age, now deal with many challenges in this digital post-pandemic age. It is imperative for them to not only regain their footing but also to uncover, if not discover, their identity and chart a course toward a profession. During the formative years, social engagement and interaction with others are crucial. Social experimentation and exploration are a normal part of maturation and development. However, COVID lockdowns have denied these important experiences.
Those who want to attend a college or university and not graduate with a minimum $100,000 debt for a degree to secure a job earning a mere $40,000 a year now must consider not only options, but “what are my natural talents and abilities? How can I make a living and survive?” Art history, philosophy, and music theory majors are fine if you’re independently wealthy and can support yourself. But what if you’re just starting out? One needs a financially viable, marketable trade or skill that someone, or some company, wants to pay for. That job or skill requires a balance of soft skills accompanying it. This speaks to one’s “make-up,” temperament, personality type, communication style, etc. Most adults, let alone youth, are not able to articulate that information, let alone put it into practice in any applicable setting.
So how do we help our youth put these pieces of the puzzle together? The lion’s share of assessment tools in the market are between 40 and 80 years old. They are text-based tools which speak to only 10% of the brain, which is the logical part. This means, we are asking our youth to tell us about who they are by using only 10% of their brains. For many of the population referenced in this article, the brains in these youths are not yet fully developed so asking them to make some choices potentially important choices using only the logic portion of their brain is simply absurd. There is simply not enough life experience for logic to have enough “weight” in the decision-making process.
RemotelyMe has a ground-breaking tool called ViNES, a Visual Neuroscience assessment engaging all three areas of the logical, emotional, and instinctual brain unlike the rest of the industry, which claims 50% to ~70% reliability. The ViNES assessment achieves 93%+, Crombach’s alpha reliability-the best in the industry.
So, what does this mean? The ViNES assessment captures in about nine minutes, what the others can’t in 45 minutes to 90 minutes because it’s visual. Visual data capture rate is 60,000 times faster than text, which is why it is so much more efficient and shorter.
ViNES gives us hope for our youth and their future. ViNES not only provides valuable insights into personality but also provides a unique measure that none of the others have, and that is its ability to quantify “trust.” Additionally, RemotelyMe provides “Playbooks.” These are indispensable to key understandings on how to best communicate and understand individuals, their strengths, potential (or perceived) weaknesses, how they might behave at their best, and at their worst. There are many other insights valuable to the person, their parents, or their mentors, teachers, counselors, advisors, etc. RemotelyMe will soon be offering a client portal for wellness/resources to help individuals advance on their journey.
Kollab Youth is an organization in Los Angeles working with youth in an under-served community. They have successfully used a version of this assessment in their program for two years under the label Kollab Kwiz and done so with overwhelming success:
87% said Kollab Kwiz helped with college applications or resume.
84% said Kollab Kwiz helped them know themselves better.
80% said Kollab Kwiz gave them tools to explain themselves better to others.
72% Kollab Kwiz showed them areas in which they excel.
78% said they will use the info from the Kwiz in the future.
ViNES and RemotelyMe is worth the scrutiny for every parent, guidance counselor, school administrator, provost, etc. who desires the best for their youth(s) in their charge. Every student or ardent learner, passionate or just curious about self-improvement, would do well to spend the modest funds needed to explore how truly wonderful they are and what potential lies ahead for them. You can learn more at RemotelyMe.com.
David Hall is the author of “Striving to Thriving-A practical resource for reclaiming your life from chronic pain,” a Certified Health and Wellness Coach specializing in chronic pain management, advocate who testified before members of Congress, support group leader for the U.S. Pain Foundation, and chronic pain survivor. David serves as Chief Technical Officer for RemotelyMe.