Social Question

kneesox's avatar

How has mask wearing changed kids' behavior in school?

Asked by kneesox (4329points) 2 months ago
15 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

School has to be a really different experience for kids from what it was before covid.

What has changed with the masks? Less whispering? More loud wisecracks? Shyer socializing? Less kid-to-kid judgmentalism?

Tighter social groups? More outcasts? Less playground and lunchroom interaction? New kinds of activities?

And is in-person with masks better or worse than virtual classrooms with Zoom?

Parents, teachers, what have you seen? And what have you done, if anything, to try to prevent or encourage some of these changes?

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LuckyGuy's avatar

My 5 year old grandson is in school. Mask wearing does not make any difference in behavior. The kids act exactly the same way they did before. They don’t even notice the masks.

snowberry's avatar

One of my daughters is an elementary teacher (kindergarten and preschool) in Japan, where mask wearing has long been part of their culture. Wearing masks to little kids there is normal, but the masks also are toys to them. They suck and chew on them, put them on their heads like hats or try to put their feet through the ear loops, stick them in their pockets, trade them, and use them to scrub off their desks. They arrive wearing their masks, and after that, it’s a struggle to get them to use them properly. I’ll remind you also, that kids there are like little kids everywhere. Heck! At that age (here, or in Japan), they even lick each other!

Another of my daughters teaches 6th grade in the US. She tells me that not only does making the kids wear masks in school interfere with hearing and understanding because masks tend to muffle speech, it also prevents others from seeing facial expression.

She has taken to wearing a plastic face shield so the kids can at least see her face, but her voice doesn’t carry as far as it would without the mask.

According to her, masks definitely make teaching more of a challenge.

kneesox's avatar

I was thinking of kids who are old enough so masks are actually a change from what they’re used to in school. And especially at ages where they’re apt to be socially awkward. Little kids have no prior school experience, so they aren’t having to adapt. What’s it like for, say, middle schoolers?

snowberry's avatar

I’ll ask her, but at minimum, and depending on how often the masks are worn, I assume it interferes with being heard and being able to see facial expression.

kneesox's avatar

@snowberry, it would be interesting to hear. No doubt the kids are experiencing the same limitations we all have. But how has it affected their behavior? is the question. What are they doing differently? Being more subdued? learning sign language? making up for facial expressions with some other device?

In other words, how are they compensating for whatever interactions and communications they used to have before the masks?

snowberry's avatar

She says that not much has changed with kids. They’re always judgmental. They always judge each other whether it’s for the mask they’re wearing or the way they wear their hair, or their clothes, or their accent, or whatever.

She says when masks were first worn, they tried talking more, thinking she couldn’t see their lips mask would keep her from seeing their lips moving, but because the mask muffles their words, they have to whisper or talk louder, so she knows who’s talking anyway. And they’re louder in general.

She says that when the schools closed and they had to switch to zoom, most children failed miserably. She’s seen so many kids who missed a whole year (or more) of school and had to be held back.

As a side note, she also mentioned her frustration of having kids show up this fall with these huge deficits, and she’s supposed to get them to grade level in all subjects. It’s unrealistic, and yet if the kids don’t do well on the standardized tests, her school could lose funding.

kneesox's avatar

@snowberry, very interesting! Thank you.

I’d also like to hear what parents say about their kids’ behavior and what the kids themselves report to parents. I just really can’t imagine what this tsunami of a social change would be like for kids in the middle of it.

snowberry's avatar

I’ll ask her that.

But she did mention that during the zoom classes, several kids simply did amazing on a test, and when they came back to school, they didn’t know a thing about the material. A parent had done the test for them.

SnipSnip's avatar

Oh I don’t know, they’ve probably learned to swear.

Cupcake's avatar

I don’t have any idea what impact mask-wearing has on young children. But I can tell you that social behavior is changed and children have more difficulties getting along, playing together, staying in their seats during class, following rules and routines, etc. My youngest is complaining of bullying, but we perceive it as pretty “normal” behavior, albeit the 8 year old had not experienced it before since his last in-person school was kindergarten. Teachers, school principals and counselors have their hands full, not to mention whoever is monitoring lunch and recess.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I am not really qualified to answer this, but I have noticed that my 7 year old Granddaughter is a more body activated than last year

RocketGuy's avatar

So they don’t whine and moan, like adults?

Dutchess_III's avatar

No they don’t! They’re more mature than anti masters and and ant vaxxers.

kneesox's avatar

Thanks to you jellies who read the details. I’m interested in what has changed in the behavior of older kids who have been in school for a few years before covid. Little kids who started school on Zoom or wearing masks have to be a different story.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, like I said my granddaughter has become a lot more animated physically. It could be assumed it’s a secondary way of trying to communicate.

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