Analysing the impact of Covid-19 on children

Coronavirus has severely affected the health of children all over the world, thereby posing great challenges to the government to arrange proper facilities for their development, security and growth. According to UNICEF, over 7,100 children and adolescents died from Covid-19, which is 0.3 per cent of the 2.4 million pandemic-related deaths in 78 countries. Several healthcare experts and doctors believe that the possible third wave of Covid-19 may be devastating and fatal for children.


 This article focuses on how Covid-19 has impacted children. It talks about physical , mental and emotional health issues faced by the children along with several forms of maltreatment that have raised head amidst the crisis, such as child labour , child pornography, violence, child marriage, etc. UNICEF has also shown concern regarding the increasing numbers of these abuses against children. This article also focuses on the struggles faced by some children due to the commencement of online classes in form of lacking adequate facilities to avail the benefits of online classes; some children are depressed due to the monotonous and hectic school schedule , while some are suffering from chronic eye infection due to the increased screen time and so on. Apart from these issues, the article also points out the danger that children are into, who have unfortunately lost both the parents . Some “giroh” are targeting these children to smuggle them and to engage in trafficking in the disguise of adoption. The article also talks about the sufferings and hindrance faced specially by girl children in getting education by being forced to get married in order to overcome the financial crisis faced by the families.


“Children are our most valuable resources,” said Herbert Hoover. “Safety and security don’t just happen , they are the result of collective consensus and public investment . we owe our children , the most vulnerable citizens in our society , a life free of violence and fear,” said Nelson Mandela. The upsurge of devastating, fatal and monstrous pandemic of coronavirus or Covid-19 has taken toll on millions of people around the world and its hunt is still continuing. The governments, authorities and non state actors all around the globe are working together, coordinating with each other in order to deal with such a pathetic and pitiful condition. Talking about its victims , one is bound to count or rather include every age group and every section of people. in other words It has affected people regardless of their age, people of every class and section of society, be it rich , poor or middle class. today we are going to analyse the impact of COV- SARS-2 upon the life of children . for the sake of convenience and clarity we will divide the impacts in two broad sections: 1) Direct impact which will cover the health issues faced by children , issues emerging due to the closure of educational institutions or schools, challenges faced by children who have lost both of their parents to Covid, etc. 2) Indirect impact which will cover the issues of invisible abuse , exploitation, psychological trauma, online abuse and cyber bullying, etc.


 Coronavirus has severely affected the health of children all over the world and thereby posing great challenges to the government to arrange proper facilities and essentials for their development, security and growth. According to UNICEF, over 7,100 children and adolescents died from Covid-19, which is 0.3 per cent of the 2.4 million Civid-19 deaths in 78 countries. Though the number may seem less if seen in respect to the adults and aged people who lost their lives, it is being said by the experts and doctors that the third wave of Covid-19 may be devastating and fatal for children . thus if the situation is this terrible when the disease, till now, is said to have spared the children and not shown its full potential , one can only imagine what the scenario will be after the arrival of the third wave of the pandemic. Another cause of concern, apart from the direct infection, that needs to be addressed is of the subsidiary issues arising due to Covid-19. While being busy in tackling the SARS-2 situation, the authorities and governments tend to focus less upon the health and nutrition of the children which has resulted in the spike of cases of the children suffering from malnutrition. Again, according to UNICEF additional 5 to 6 million children are suffering from acute malnutrition. disruption to service may have resulted in 160 million children under 5 years of age missing a crucial dose of Vitamin A. Apart from this , several countries such as Lebanon , is experiencing severe food insecurity and the percentage of people not having enough food rose from 31% in 2018 to 50% in 2020. Apart from the physical health issues, children are also suffering from several psychological or mental health issues. governments across countries have ensured full fledged lockdown or restrictions on movement which to some extent have adversely impacted the mental condition of the children. Children are living monotonous lives and are being trapped in the web of anxiety, depression and other mental issues. They are not being able to enjoy and explore new things and are even becoming lethargic due to lack of physical activity such as playing outdoor games, meeting new people, learning new lessons, etc. They are confined in their houses for over a year and this is negatively impacting their creative minds.


 Included among all the measures taken by the governments all over the world to fight against the malignant corona virus is the closure of all schools and other educational intitutions. It was a crucial and mandatory step taken by the authorities to deal with the situation , nevertheless one cannot neglect its deep effects upon the lives of the innocent, creative and curious kids . With the schools being closed from more than past one year , there is a great educational gap that has appeared and is now a huge cause of concern. School is a place where children not just receive education but also learn new skills and explore their talent. Furthermore, school is a place where they meet new people, make friends and communicate, play and build themselves as a person . all these opportunities are being denied to the children due to the catastrophic situation posed by the novel corona virus. Now, one may ask, on what ground is it being said that there is an educational gap even when the online classes have taken place of the offline ones. the argument for this is that virtual classes can never be the best substitute for the offline classes as children miss a lot of opportunities and also do not get the environment they could have gotten in their offline classes. Nevertheless no one can suggest to reopen schools as the pandemic is still at its peak and one cannot risk the lives of children at any cost. There is one important subject arising with the advent of online or virtual classes — it’s the issue of inequality. In several developing countries or even in developed countries, a particular section of students, living in far flung and remote areas do not have access to the internet thereby are being devoid of education. They do not have proper facilities, amenities or technology to exploit the opportunities presented to all the students. This is a major aspect upon which one should focus and take some initiatives to find a solution to this problem. Apart from these things children have found a lot of ways to isolate themselves and not to interact with teachers and their fellow students in the online classes by muting themselves and by not taking active part in different contests and activities organised by schools. This has resulted in obstruction in the full growth of their mind.


 Recently India witnessed the second wave of novel corona virus which proved fatal to thousands of people . amidst such horrific scenario when India was witnessing deaths after deaths, children were also suffering as many of them lost both of their parents to COVID . the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on June 7,2021 presented the supreme court with a series of grim numbers. According to the report of NCPCR almost 3,621 children lost both parents, 26,176 lost one parent and 274 had been abandoned. It has stemmed into another problem of trafficking , maltreatment and exploitation of number of abandoned and parentless children. People in the name of helping children are circulating fake and illegal adoption messages which has resulted in the growth of rackets associated with illegal practice of child labour and child trafficking. These human trafficking rackets are taking advantage of the situation and are carrying out their malicious projects, leaving these children in a dark and pathetic condition where they would never get a chance to live their life as a normal child. This activity of human trafficking further results in the increase in drug rackets and other illegal practices in the country. It not just ruins the whole life of the victims ( children) but also their children’s, as according to studies the abused children or the children with dark and uneasy childhood can never offer normal condition to their children for growth and development, rather they tend to use violence and abuse even against their own children. However, the government of India is taking some measures to deal with this situation and is also providing financial support to these children to ensure their bright future. Government of India has also warned those who are circulating illegal messages of adoption and also those who are adopting these children illegally.


 A new phenomenon in the name of “invisible abuse” has been surfacing all over the world during the pandemic period. As a result of the series of lockdown , trembling economy and raging numbers of unemployment, a sort of mental distress is prevalent in almost every alternate household. Such grave environment is offering no good to impeccable and unblemished children. due to the stress and strain of continuous financial and health issues, parents or relatives tend to abuse or apply violence against children. The world is witnessing global poverty as a result of recession in major economies and according to UNICEF around 725 million children are living in poor or poverty stricken household and an additional 140 million children are projected to be in households living below the poverty line. According to a survey conducted by SAVE THE CHILDREN AND UNICEF, around 45% of children are deprived of atleast one of the basic amenities of lives which includes health, sanitation , education, proper nutritious food, shelter, clean water, etc. Due to this recession and resultant poverty, children are facing material short comings and potential deprivation. Lockdown measures have heightened the tension in the household regarding the job uncertainty , financial issues, health issues and thereby have increased the risk of violence in homes. As the authorities and governments are busy finding solutions to covid and providing requisite materials to deal with it, the child protection services tend to weaken thereby increasing the risk of children being abused. According to UNICEF, 66% of countries reported a disruption in violence against children-related services due to Covid-19.


One of the important worry zone that is being witnessed recently is the steep rise in the cases of cyber bullying. With the introduction of the online or virtual classes, children are exposed to internet and gradually to the different social platforms at very young age. In this age, there is high tendency that they are even being exposed to violent and vulnerable contents which can damage or at least leave deep impact of their mental and physical health. Cases of child pornography, cyber bullying, and paedophilia has been emerging. Some people are using the inappropriate pictures of children to present inappropriate content such as child pornography. Another aspect of the related issue is that the children are unveiled to ill-suited and inappropriate contents. This can result in a degree of mental impairment. Children are innocent but curious , if they will be exposed to violent and sexual contents that would increase their curiosity resulting in their engagement with inappropriate activities.


Amidst this pandemic , girl child is also going through several challenges. With the schools closed and extending lockdown period, large number of parents are getting their children married, thereby imposing the threat of increase in the numbers of cases of child marriage. During this financial crisis, child marriage is emerging as a way to relieve financial pressure upon the family. These are just few impacts of the emergence of corona virus upon children and there are many more of it that need to be addressed and taken into consideration. Children are our future and hence the shape and look of the new world depends upon them. thus it is necessary to protect them and provide them with all the facilities and amenities necessary for their physical and mental growth and development.


 Children particularly might not be the first to come to one’s mind when one thinks about the direct victims of coronavirus, but there is no doubt that they are the biggest victims of this pandemic as it has changed their lives profoundly and impacted not only their physical but also mental health. Taking toll on thousands of lives , this virus is continuously impoverishing several innocent lives and even taking away the very support system of these children — their parents. It has also deeply impacted their studies and behaviour thereby giving these children lifelong scar. Violence in families due to poverty and financial crisis ;due to financial crisis children are even left malnourished thereby reducing there life expectancy; they are exposed to social media and to different abusive and inappropriate content at early age which is affecting their mental health thereby preventing the growth of their minds to its full potential etc are just few of the myriad devastating impacts that this pandemic brought upon these innocent souls.

Children particularly might not be the first to come to one’s mind when one thinks about the direct victims of coronavirus, but there is no doubt that they are the biggest victims of this pandemic as it has changed their lives profoundly and impacted not only their physical but also mental health.