The Impact of the Covid Response on Childhood Development

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
I'm sure many of us know young children who by now have experienced their entire life, or several of their most important formative years under the Covid regime. Of the children I know, some of them even want to wear the masks and are scared to be around other people. Most of the infants born in this time that I know of have had very negative health outcomes. Ear infections that will likely lead to permanent hearing loss, stunted growth, not meeting development milestones.

There is now a study examining this phenomenon which found children born during the pandemic to have cognitive abilities almost two standard deviations below the norm.

In general, we find mean ELC values from 2011 to 2019 ranging from 98.5 to 107.3....

Controlling for differences in age and maternal education, we find inconsistent differences in mean ELC between 2011-2019 and 2020, but consistent and significant reductions between 2011-2019 and 2021 (p<0.001). Results are similar for the verbal and non-verbal composite measures (Fig. 2, Table 2). In all cases maternal education was a significant and positive factor on ELC, VDQ, and NVDQ measures.

Results from our mixed model analysis using our complete data set are summarized in Table 3 and reinforce the results obtained from our initial ANCOVA. For each composite score, the model including child age, maternal education, child gender, birth weight, gestation duration, and test timing (pre vs. during the pandemic)), as well as interaction terms of timing, gender, and maternal education was the most parsimonious model (lowest BIC). Across all measures, we found cognitive scores were significantly reduced during the pandemic by 27 to 37 points (or almost two full standard deviations), p values < 0.01, with higher maternal education, increased birth weight and increased gestation duration being protective; while males were more heavily affected.
For context, two standard deviations below an IQ of 100 is metal retardation, or borderline mental retardation. The study in its conclusion and discussion sections primarily blames masks, social distancing, and closed or altered schools, to which I mostly agree, although I wonder what the effect of maternal vaccination during pregnancy is.

I'm interested in hearing your personal experiences with children in these times as me and @Mrs.DanielH are expecting our first child soon, as well as any theories you may have, how to deal with this phenomenon, and why this isn't triggering policy changes or how the oligarchs benefit from an essentially disabled population. Posting in the ladies forum to open up the discussion to more people with relevant experience.
 

Ah_Tibor

Kingfisher
Woman
Orthodox
We had ours right before all this garbage happened (just turned 2) and he's pretty healthy. He doesn't talk much besides "dada," "maaaam," "ball/the ball!" and "duck." (He said "burger" once and never did again.) Friends of ours have a kid the same age and has started talking more clearly, but he's around more people generally. I'm not really worried about it because I was a late talker, and he's a chill baby in general, but everything is autism now.

Besides said friends I don't know anyone with babies or toddlers. Several women I know have been trying to get pregnant for awhile and have issues (PCOS, uterine cysts/fibroids, etc). Kind of stinks.
 

Elspeth

Sparrow
Woman
Protestant
Hey Daniel,

Thanks for sharing. Congrats to you and your wife!

Upon reading Deoni et al. (2021) (the journal you shared), I found it interesting to learn that children born during the pandemic exhibit reduced cognitive performance compared to those born prior to 2020. I apologize for the following novel, but I found this study to be really interesting in conjunction with my previous readings.

I once read a study that demonstrated how important play is for the development of children’s writing skills (Daiute, 1990), and how reading to children increases their language skills (Dickinson, 2012). I also read a study that found that engaging with children increased their emotional intelligence, or the ability to regulate their emotions and understand others’ better (Danciu, 2010). This makes sense if doing the opposite, such as neglecting a child altogether, can stunt their development (Hildyard & Wolfe, 2002).

Golinkoff et al. (2018) found that children of lower income families experience less directed speech than children of higher income families. It would follow that if higher income families have more time and energy to do all these things with their children, that children of higher income families would be more linguistically developed than children of lower income families. After all, it’s difficult to give one’s child that much attention if both parents have to work, or if one is a single parent, who must enlist the help of another caregiver. If that caregiver is watching multiple children, that caregiver may be unable to give those children the individualized attention necessary for them to compete with the level received by children of higher income families. Therefore, it makes sense that children with higher income-earning parents would be more linguistically developed than children of lower income-earning parents if there isn't a parent at home with them.

In another study I read, researchers discovered a trend of childhood amnesia that was more prevalent for more years among Asian males than any other demographic. “Although almost all adults recall at least some events from their childhood, the age of earliest memory, density of memories across childhood, and level of detail and coherence of autobiographical memories vary widely across individuals. Some of these differences are related to gender and culture: Adult females and individuals from Western cultures have an earlier age of first memory, and have longer and more detailed memories of their childhood, than adult males and individuals from Asian cultures (see Fivush & Haden, 2003, for an overview, as cited by Fivush & Nelson, 2004). These findings call for a different kind of explanation of childhood amnesia,” (Fivush & Nelson, 2004, p. 573).

Later, they state that “language appears critical in the development of autobiographical memory for three interrelated reasons. First, language is not simply the way in which memories are expressed, but is instrumental in providing an organizational structure for personal experience. Second, language allows children to enter into dialogues with other people about their experiences, and these dialogues facilitate children’s developing abilities to form organized representations of their experiences. Finally, these dialogues highlight for children the fact that memories are representations of events that occurred at specified points in the past and that are evaluated from multiple perspectives,” (Fivush & Nelson, 2004, p. 574).

From these findings, it appears that Western females and Eastern males represent two extremes on the spectrum of culturally acceptable self-expression. Not only are Westerners socially permitted to express more emotion, but females even more so almost universally (for instance, crying in public, compared to males). If that expression is verbal in some part, then this might explain why Western females have less childhood amnesia than Eastern males.

According to Fivush & Nelson (2004), the study you shared appears to support these findings, since children born during the pandemic (but especially males and children in lower socioeconomic families) were most effected developmentally by the stresses of the pandemic (Deoni et al., 2021). However, the study did not measure whether masks, social distancing, and closed or altered schools are directly to blame, but highlights that these might be factors that could play a part in cognitive development that need their own studies. Regardless, I do know that facial interaction with infants is critical in their development (Peltola et. al, 2018). I definitely wonder what duration of mask wearing may have an effect on attachment, facial processing, and socioemotional processing.

Completely off topic (I thought I'd mention it given the opportunity), but this study has yet to be peer-reviewed. While this doesn't necessarily mean that this study has errors, it means it has yet to be expertly checked for them by another party. Here's a short explanation.

Screen Shot 2022-01-14 at 9.18.43 AM.png


References

Daiute, C. (1990). The role of play in writing development. Research in the Teaching of English, 24(1), 4-47. Accessed January 14, 2022, from https://www.jstor.org/stable/40171444.

Danciu, E. L. (2010). Methods of developing children's emotional intelligence. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 5, 2227-2233. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.07.440.

Deoni, S., Beauchemin, J., Volpe, A., & D'Sa, V. (2021). Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on early child cognitive development: Initial findings in a longitudinal observational study of child health. Medrxiv. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.08.10.21261846.

Dickinson, D. K., Griffith, J. A., Golinkoff, R. M., & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2012). How reading books fosters language development around the world. Child Development Research, 2012, 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/602807.

Fivush, R. & Nelson, K. (2004). Culture and language in the emergence of autobiographical memory. Psychological Science, 15(9), 573-577. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0956-7976.2004.00722.x.

Golinkoff, R. M., Hoff, E., Rowe, M. L., Tamis-LeMonda, C. S., & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2019). Language matters: Denying the existence of the 30-million-word gap has serious consequences. Child Development, 90(3), 985-992. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.13128.

Hildyard, K. L., & Wolfe, D. A. (2002). Child neglect: Developmental issues and outcomes. Child Abuse & Neglect, 26(6-7), 679–695. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0145-2134(02)00341-1.

Peltola, M.J., Yrttiaho, S., & Leppänen, J.M. (2018). Infants' attention bias to faces as an early marker of social development. Developmental science, 21(6), e12687. https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12687.
 
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Ah_Tibor

Kingfisher
Woman
Orthodox
The other thing I neglected to mention (I write out posts on my phone in between doing other stuff, that's why I always sound hyper) is that a lot of parents had an "oh well, f*** it!" attitude through the latter half of 2020 that continues to some degree. I read an article from mom concerned that her daughter only wanted to watch TV, and the response was "who cares, we're all under stress right now." Many parents gave up on the remote crisis learning or trying to retain a sense of order. A lot of people aren't even bothering to get dressed anymore.

I went to the doctor a few months ago and receptionist said, "I will literally kill myself if my kids are home again this year."

Many went into semi-voluntary house arrest, so I don't doubt that kids probably seem somewhat retarded.
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
The other thing I neglected to mention (I write out posts on my phone in between doing other stuff, that's why I always sound hyper) is that a lot of parents had an "oh well, f*** it!" attitude through the latter half of 2020 that continues to some degree. I read an article from mom concerned that her daughter only wanted to watch TV, and the response was "who cares, we're all under stress right now." Many parents gave up on the remote crisis learning or trying to retain a sense of order. A lot of people aren't even bothering to get dressed anymore.

I went to the doctor a few months ago and receptionist said, "I will literally kill myself if my kids are home again this year."

Many went into semi-voluntary house arrest, so I don't doubt that kids probably seem somewhat retarded.
Every sentence of that was more horrifying than the last. They say the opposite of love is indifference, and that seems to be the standard for how people are treating their children now. Indifference (or worse).
 

Mrs.DanielH

Robin
Woman
Orthodox
I noticed that attitude change as well @Ah_Tibor . There are many women giving their kids TV and/or video games to babysit them. Working mothers are overwhelmed by the idea of actually spending time with their kids and don't want to put the effort into raising them. Going to be a messed up generation for sure. Just wait until they get into middle school...every single one will have a mental disorder and be on psych meds.
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Orthodox
Golinkoff et al. (2018) found that children of lower income families experience less directed speech than children of higher income families. It would follow that if higher income families have more time and energy to do all these things with their children, that children of higher income families would be more linguistically developed than children of lower income families.
That checks with the study I shared. Someone else I shared the study with mentioned males learn differently than women - they're more hands on learners or at least that's what they say - so remote learning would be more detrimental and this matches with my personal experience. Men I went to school with were generally not the ones who did the assigned reading.
 

Renzy

Pelican
Catholic
My wife and I have had discussions about the same topic. I think in a decade the ramifications of these lockdowns on child development will become more apparent, none of which will be good. I think what you will see is -

- An increase in childhood obesity

Kids will start having weight problems at a younger age and for more of them it will persist into adulthood. Our neighbors 9 year old son has already put on enough weight during the period that the public schools here went virtual that it's noticeable. His mother even commented on it to us. So many of kids, especially boys, are glued to screens (video games, phones) even before covid started and with things going virtual you have kids playing outside less, getting less physical activity (sport leagues cancelled), and normalizing the idea that it's ok to spent the majority of your free time in the virtual world.

- An increase in neuroticism

I'm not a psychologist but in my admittedly armchair opinion doing these lockdowns to kids for so long, making them wear masks every day and "social distance", the weekly testing, politicized vaccine mandates, seeing their parents obsess over this whole thing, etc. It's going to exacerbate our anxious, safety first culture. You'll end up with a more risk-averse, fearful population that'll be more open to things like to the government handing down mandates if it's somehow tied to safety because they'll value feeling "safe" above other considerations. As a personal example, one of our former neighbors whom we still keep in contact with told us that her 10 year old son started wanting to sleep in their (the parents) bed at night this past year. She thinks it's because of all the fear surrounding covid and him wanting to feel more secure.

- Delayed social skills

I think this one is obvious but we've now had two years where people aren't socializing like they used to, kids included. In our area, a number of the local public elementary schools have once again gone virtual because of Omicron. I've heard plenty of other parents talk about how much their kids hate it, how much they miss being with their friends, etc.

- A generation of students with a huge academic gap

There is no way the majority of kids doing virtual work are keeping pace with kids who are in person. I've got an 11 year old son and can tell you how quickly they will tune out if you park them in front of a computer screen and expect them to watch some lecturer drone on and on. By the time a lot of these kids reach graduation, they'll be a year or two behind previous generations coming out of high school. I expect we'll be seeing columns and articles in the future from college professors that have been teaching long enough to be able to compare between kids coming before and after covid.
 

Ah_Tibor

Kingfisher
Woman
Orthodox
- An increase in childhood obesity

- An increase in neuroticism

- Delayed social skills

What doomsday cults do-- create fear of the outside world with threats of looming disaster, your only salvation is with us!

I was homeschooled so it's a bit alarming to me to see the same kind of people telling me I would grow up "weird" (whatever that means) begging for remote schooling, masking, etc. (These aren't always the same groups of people.)
 

GreatIrishElk

Sparrow
Orthodox Inquirer
First off, I want to say congratulations! A baby is a blessing no matter what is going on in the world :)

My theories are anecdotal, but drawing as much on times prior to covid which seems to have worked for humanity so far.

Surround yourselves and your baby with people who have a positive disposition. I have noticed that babies when in public observe everything. I have often caught them on public transport or in shopping centres just staring at my face, and I always felt it was important to smile or wave. Funny enough when I did so, they laugh or smile back. I think it is important that they see adults who seem to happy with their environment/ happy to see them, or at least content with the world they live in.

Second, I would say try to avoid taking your child to spaces which will have a lot of mask wearing as much as possible. It may be easier said than done, but as noted in previous posts, it can’t have a positive impact on the development of the psyche to see what is realistically an unnatural phenomenon - humans with face coverings.

Be prepared to do quite a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of education, at least in the formative years. My mother taught myself and all my siblings our alphabet, colours, numbers etc before we got to school, safe to say none of us struggled educationally. That was even before the school system was as it is now.

Encourage curiosity - children have lots of questions. Make sure to commend this if possible, and try not to make answers too simplistic. My mum once told me I used to ask profound questions she wouldn’t really know how to answer, but would always have a go anyway! My dad on the other hand, would make up some silly story and have me believing it. Even if you said something like, ‘hold that thought and we’ll investigate it later’. I remember reading the worst answer would be ‘I don’t know’ and leaving it at that.

There are a few more things I can think of but I’m not really sure how helpful or new this information will be to you both. I wish the three of you all the best :D
 

Starlight

Kingfisher
Woman
Protestant
You’d think the result would actually be the opposite of this given that families were forced to spend more time together with fewer babies and children in daycare, etc.

The study in the OP states that children in lower socioeconomic families were most affected. I wonder if maternal drug and alcohol use rose for that class during the lockdowns and that could be a partial cause.
 
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Starlight

Kingfisher
Woman
Protestant
Tangent to the study but still relevant to the thread topic: I was talking to a girl friend who is a first grade teacher the other day and she said that this year the students have been exceptionally far behind. In our state, kindergarten is optional and many parents chose not to send their kids last year for kindergarten either because of fear or because of baloney mandates. More than half of her students don’t know any letters or numbers not to mention colors or shapes when in previous years that number would be maybe one or two students. If public education didn’t exist, most likely, the majority of kids would be absolutely illiterate because their parents obviously won’t do it themselves.
Many went into semi-voluntary house arrest, so I don't doubt that kids probably seem somewhat retarded.
Like begets like… Ironically, these same kind of people that bought so much into the “pandemic” are the ones always yelling about the “Darwin Award.”
 

Arby

Pigeon
Woman
Atheist
Anecdotes incoming.
In my husband's friend group, there have been three babies born during the pandemic (including ours). They were all nourished well, have very involved caregivers (ours has us plus her grandparents, another one has parents plus a full time in home nanny, the third had parents for 12 months, daycare on some days after that), and plenty of social interaction with adults and each other (ours probably the least because I'm very introverted). They all seem to be developing either normally or above average. Ours started talking and walking a bit later than the others, but now at 19 months I feel like she's caught up quite well.
 

get2choppaaa

Ostrich
Orthodox
Facemasks had a major negative impact on my stepson. He's autistic ( functional but a legit case...not a feel good diagnosis that many lazy parents use to make their kids "special" because that does happen.) He had lots of regression with personal hygiene, communication, and basic confidence.

He's old enough to be autonomous and we had to spend about 4 months with basics like " blow your damn nose " or " don't mumble" where beforehand this wasn't an issue since he was like 8 (he's 12 now).

It's totally disgusting what is going on with kids.

My other 4 kids had issues in other ways...Be it fear of hypotheticals or just limitation to their learning from the structure of having to wear masks ect.

My opinion is that this is less about killing the old and more about conditioning the children to accept being controlled.
 

Bird

Pelican
Catholic
Here is something like a classwork from a young child in Germany:

Masks protect us all!

Mask on, because my smile is not more important!
Mask on, because my face is not more important!
Mask on because I can be sick even when I am healthy!
Mask on because it's not important to see what my teacher looks like!
Mask on, because it is not more important to know the faces of my classmates!
Mask on, even if I have a headache!
Mask on, even if I feel dizzy!
Mask on, even if I get sick and feel sick!
Mask on, even if I have trouble breathing!
Mask on, even if I don't know any child who got sick and is in the hospital because of Carola.
At recess, I only take off my mask when I can eat my sandwich with at least one meter and fifty centimeters distance to my classmate.

My mom cries much more than I do.

The last sentence was not accepted by the teacher.
School grade: E
click to zoom


For certain reason it has been deleted on Twitter, but it's still available on archive.org.
 

Viktor Zeegelaar

Hummingbird
Orthodox Inquirer
Besides the intellectual detriment, which coalesces very much with the overal societal development of dumbing down people, the biggest influence for children will be the social conditioning. Children growing up and internalizing their environment to make sense of the world. If all they know is putting a mask on in situation XYZ, that's what they're going to do automatically, just as putting the seat bells on. Moreover, with the vaccines, that'll be in the standard package of 70+ vaccines from their birth up, so once again it'll be a standard procedure to get their twice a year shot. It'll be all so normalized. They'll never know or understand the freedom of movement, thought and expression we've had. It's like looking at your grandparents, relics from an ancient time gone by. You can have some intellectual understanding vaguely of how it was back then, but it's so different now that it stays with that very limited understanding. Future generations will look at our generation with that same view, like a modern man looking towards a caveman.
 
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