Two in three parents worried their kids have become socially awkward

Seven in 10 parents worry their kids have forgotten how to interact with other children after being home during the pandemic, according to new research.

A survey of 2,000 parents of children ages 5 to 14 found that two in three parents are concerned that their child has gotten more awkward around others, and 62% don’t think their kid will be able to pick up where they left off socially when they go back to school this fall.

Specifically, parents are worried that their children won’t be keen on making conversation with friends (41%), meeting new people (40%) or remembering their manners by saying “please” and “thank you” (37%).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Osmo, the survey revealed that parents are big on socializing, with 85% believing it is a necessary skill to use in school.

Forty-four percent of respondents place academic learning and socializing on the same level of importance and four in five (81%) think schools should implement more activities that encourage and teach social skills.

And despite being home most of the time during quarantine, 77% of parents encouraged their child to be social from afar.

Whether it was motivating their child to play video games or online games with others (52%), call and text their friends often (49%), or spend time with friends outdoors (46%), parents tried their best to keep their kids social and active over the past year.

Four in five parents also emphasized that school was as important as ever before and made sure their children succeeded academically even through tough times.

Over half of parents (52%) stuck by their child’s side when they struggled with an assignment and another 43% tried to make learning fun through games or educational activities.

Forty-two percent of parents even took the time to create extra homework to ensure their children understood the material they were learning during homeschooling.

However, three in four parents believe their child lost a year of proper education because of the COVID crisis — and the majority (71%) are concerned that it will be difficult for their kids to catch up on learning materials they may have missed.

“The pandemic was difficult for all of us, but especially for kids and their parents,” said Osmo CEO Pramod Sharma. “This past year has taught all of us that learning is about so much more than academics.”

When it comes to academics, parents express the most concern about their child not remembering their school supplies and books (42%), focusing in class (41%) or using a full keyboard not attached to a tablet (36%) again.

When asked what subject they think their kids are most likely to struggle with, parents said math (41%) followed by science (37%) and language arts (34%).

With those concerns in mind, four in five parents (81%) believe that certain technology or entertainment tools may be the solution to improving both their child’s social and educational skills.

On average, parents think their kid would spend 26 more minutes in front of something educational if it were entertaining, and 77% would be interested in purchasing fun learning tech.

“Kids also need an outlet for social-emotional learning, multiplayer experiences and social-strengthening activities that positively shape their active characters,” said Sharma.

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