Supporting remote learning

Advice for parents and young people

This series of videos featuring psychologist and Internet Matters Ambassador Dr Linda provides insight on how to deal with the impact of remote learning on children’s wellbeing, particularly the etiquette around classes delivered via video calling platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

Remote learning tips from Dr Linda

The remote learning experience of children and young people will differ across the country but what impact will attending lessons through a screen have on our young people? What will the impact of being ‘on or off-camera’ have on the way they see themselves and how can we better support them? Watch the videos to learn more about what you can do today to address these questions.

Remote learning tips for parents

Find practical solutions to help children and young people address concerns they have with remote learning and find tools that could make it easier for them to engage in lessons.

Supporting primary school children

Tips to help primary school children manage remote learning
Check their tech set up

The first thing we need to do is to start with the basics:

  • Can they see the screen well?
  • Can they hear the teacher well?
  • Do they feel seen and heard by the teacher?
  • How are they being called on in class?
  • If they’re shy how can we use technology to support this?

Keep them engaged

Kids attention span is obviously shorter and this is something parents need to discuss with schools. When they’re younger, those focuses come in short bursts for both, but especially for boys.

  • Find out how they are kept engaged when they are working on their own so their mind doesn’t wander. That might mean working near your child if you can, so you can be checking in on them every so often.

Keep checking in with them and adapt

Don’t stop checking in on your child. It’s about working to their needs with their teacher and technology so they can have a better experience.

Supporting secondary school children

Tips to help secondary school children manage remote learning
Display video transcript
00:02
hi there i'm dr linda papadopoulos i'm a
00:04
psychologist and internet matters
00:06
ambassador
00:06
now one of the things that we're getting
00:08
a lot of questions about is
00:10
this idea of what is the effect of
00:12
remote learning on my kids and
00:14
especially the secondary school kids
00:15
there's a lot of anxiety of how this is
00:17
affecting them so what i want to do
00:18
today
00:19
is focus on those areas that can help
00:21
boast your children
00:22
make them feel more confident online and
00:24
help their learning
00:30
i think one of the main issues with
00:31
secondary school children is this idea
00:33
of self-awareness they become much more
00:35
self-aware so issues around body imagery
00:37
so
00:38
being on camera all day long in a
00:39
learning environment is going to raise
00:41
some of these issues and i think as a
00:42
parent
00:43
it's key to explore these issues with
00:44
them and and help give them the tools
00:46
sometimes to navigate but sometimes to
00:48
push back on the negative thoughts
00:50
so for example some of the things that
00:51
we've been hearing at internet matters
00:53
are kids feel very aware because their
00:55
faces where they're confronted sort of
00:57
looking at themselves
00:58
all day long so kind of pushing back on
00:59
the notion that you know not everyone is
01:01
as engaged in their
01:03
sort of screen as they are that
01:04
everyone's probably engaged with their
01:06
own screen it's a very good sort of
01:07
common body image mistake that
01:09
we over estimate how much people are
01:12
looking at us
01:13
secondly you know one of the other big
01:14
things that comes up is this idea that
01:16
um you know what's my room going to look
01:18
like i know people can see these parts
01:20
of my identity i don't want them to see
01:22
it now in that case
01:23
you can do something practical so speak
01:25
about kind of blurring the background or
01:27
having
01:27
something that's more neutral behind
01:29
kind of to help sort of push
01:31
back on these ideas the other thing is
01:33
to kind of look at issues that are new
01:34
versus the issues that are old so if
01:36
your child is saying well i'm finding it
01:37
really hard to kind of
01:39
speak up in class digitally how do i put
01:41
up my hand explore with them
01:42
is this something new or is this
01:44
something that's always been there
01:46
i think the key is that technology
01:48
sometimes makes us
01:49
more aware of issues that were already
01:51
there but in the same way that we
01:52
address those issues offline
01:54
which is to challenge and to give tools
01:56
is the same way we address them
01:58
online i hope you found these tips
02:01
useful for you and your children when
02:03
you're
02:03
doing remote learning if you want more
02:05
tips information and guides and head
02:07
over to
02:08
internetmatters.org there's a lot for
02:10
you there
02:11
and thanks for watching
Help them manage anxiety

When it comes to secondary school children they’re extremely socially aware, and their digital self is often very separated from their real selves.

There is this idea that kids don’t want to be seen ‘on camera’ but they’re usually in school being seen sitting next to a classmate which is exposure, so that’s something that parents can challenge as a parent.

  • Try not to escalate the anxiety by making them feel that they’re more exposed than they usually are.
  • Perhaps your child sees a big picture of themselves on a screen so they feel more self-aware but actually, everyone’s very self-aware and in the same situation of themselves anyway. The likelihood of this being a misconception or misunderstanding is something to be challenged, rather than something to really worry about. However, if we’re talking about body dysmorphia, for example,  we would use cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) that involves slowly exposing them to it.

Breakdown individual issues

  • If your child says “I don’t like my room and I don’t want my classmates to see”, well, there are lots of ways to deal with it. If they genuinely aren’t secure about their room, deal with it by making them feel good about it. Teach them it’s not about money or about belongings.
  • There are options you can explore with the school, tell them your child feels uncomfortable so can they change or blur the background of their screen.

Address existing issues that tech might highlight

For example, is your child having issues coming off mute and speaking up in class? Did they always have an issue speaking up? Is this something new? I would guess that if you always had an issue speaking up, but you’re probably just much more aware of it.

  • Speak to the teachers and school to find out more and work with them on solutions.

Teach them self-acceptance

Some children are so used to seeing filtered versions of themselves. Seeing pictures on a camera that is the real you is about self-acceptance.

  • Ask them, would they think bad of a friend because they didn’t have a filter on their face during class?
  • Get them to question their thoughts and feelings and teach them critical thinking. It’s about getting them to challenge their own ideas.

Remote learning tips for children

Share these videos with primary and secondary-aged children to give them smart tips on what to do if they are struggling to engage during their remote live lessons.

Advice for primary school children

Advice for young people to help manage their remote learning
How is your working space set up at home?

  • The first thing I would say is to ask yourself if you can see and hear live lessons when you’re at home?
  • Work with your parent or primary caregiver to ensure you have everything set up so you feel comfortable.

What is your contact like with your teacher and class?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you been able to speak to them or do you feel like you need to speak to them more? 
  • How are you being called on in class? 
  • Are you happy to speak up during live lessons? If not, speak to your parent or primary caregiver. There will be a number of ways they can help you and work with your teacher to find a solution.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Think about anything else you need help with when you’re at home, whether that’s from your teacher or parent/primary caregiver don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need.

Advice for secondary school children

Advice for teens to manage their remote learning
You’re not exposed any more than normal

Start by talking about exposure – you may feel that you’re more exposed than usual due to having your camera on during remote lessons.

Perhaps when you see a big picture of yourself on the screen you feel more self-aware but actually, everyone’s very self-aware of themselves anyway.

In actual fact, this isn’t any different to normal when you’re sat in a classroom, next to a classmate. It’s the same level of exposure, we’re just more aware of it.

Get support from your parent and teacher

Talk about some individual issues and how they can be resolved, for example;

  • Perhaps you don’t feel comfortable having your bedroom on show as it’s your personal space.  Don’t be afraid to speak to your parent or primary caregiver about this, there are options you can explore.  In this instance, your parent could speak to your teacher and see if you can blur out or use an alternative suitable background.
  • Perhaps you don’t like speaking up on camera/in class but I’d ask you to challenge yourself on this. Ask yourself was this an issue before? Were you happy to speak up when in the classroom?
  • Technology can really amplify things that may have already been there so it’s a great teachable moment for us. It’s likely ‘I didn’t become shy because of new classes, I was probably always shy and it’s just come to a head now’. How do we make this easier? The answer is it’s about using a voice. Is it about trying it with different groups of people?

Learn self-acceptance

Another thing is about looking at this idea of my online self. Seeing pictures on camera that are the real you and this is really important as it’s about self-acceptance.

In today’s world, we can be so used to seeing a filtered version of ourselves. Think of it this way, would you think bad of your friends, because they don’t have a filter on their face during class?

Question your inner thoughts and feelings, and do some critical thinking around it, for example, explore and analyse the facts, rather than immediately being tough on yourself.

Push back on yourself. Challenge your own ideas on it and talk to others about it. Lastly, just remember to check in with your parents or teachers if you do have any problems.

Supporting resources and guides

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