Social Isolation

Isolation is not easy.

Being isolated is not easy. I mean sure, most people had their family with them, but it’s not the same. Isolation is even harder for children. Millions of children don’t have phones, social media, or any way to communicate with their friends and peers; millions of children can’t even drive yet either. For the majority of the pandemic, social events, activities, clubs (e.g. sports clubs), restaurants (takeout only), malls, parks, theaters, etc… were all closed or cancelled. This all boded for an excruciatingly frustrating time in the pandemic. Socializing was restricted only to the closest family members, leading to irritation and resentment towards one’s own relatives as well.

For me, the first few months of the pandemic, with the stay-home orders, were extremely tough. Eventually I was allowed to meet a few friends once in a while, but it simply wasn’t the same as seeing them every day. I began resenting my family, becoming irritated at even the thought of spending any more time with them. And the worst part was that it wasn’t my family’s fault, it was mine; I was revolted by what I had become, a person who absolutely detested time with family, and only because of the isolation I was put through.

Feeling isolated and alone can easily lead to feelings of stress and depression in children. This applies to children diagnosed with Covid-19 and who are forced to remain in quarantine for a significant period of time. One research paper even states that children quarantined under the suspicion of having Covid-19 or diagnosed with the disease are likely to develop mental health disorders such as anxiety, acute stress, and adjustment disorders.20 The importance of peer contact is important under these circumstances. In several countries, contact to peers has been prohibited or severely limited which can have a negative impact on children and adolescents, given the importance of peer contact for well-being.21

And thus, social isolation was simply another nail in the coffin of the mental health of children during the Covid-19 pandemic. Although it has been over a year since our lives bore some resemblance to normality, remember one thing: there is always a silver lining, and there is always a light shining at the end of the tunnel.