Survey: Teens think remote learning is 'worse', worried about future opportunities

Posted at 4:56 PM, Sep 16, 2020

A majority of teens think remote learning is worse than in-person learning, however only one-in-five would do full in-person learning this fall if it was up to them, according to a survey released this week by SurveyMonkey and Common Sense Media.

The survey asked 890 teenagers, ages 13-to-17, a series of questions about the academic school year and their feelings about the impacts of coronavirus pandemic safety measures that have canceled school-related sports, activities and some classes.

About 59 percent of participants said that remote learning was “worse” or “much worse” than in-person instruction. And roughly the same percentage are worried about falling behind academically because of the impacts on learning during the pandemic.

About one-in-four participants are worried about unreliable internet connection at home.

"More than any other issue, teens point to remote learning as their biggest academic challenge this fall," said Jon Cohen, chief research officer at SurveyMonkey, in a statement. "So much of the national conversation on virtual schooling focuses on the burden it places on parents and corresponding losses in workplace productivity, but it's possible that the day-to-day impact on students that will have longer-term implications."

But teens appear to understand the seriousness of coronavirus and the reasons behind the changes to their learning situation. About 42 percent would prefer to be fully remote learning this fall, and the majority of them cited the threat of coronavirus as their reason.

About 69 percent of survey participants are somewhat or very worried that they or someone they know would get sick because of in-person learning.

Participants are also worried about their current relationships and future prospects. More than half, 56 percent, say they are somewhat or very worried they will lose connection with friends.

Looking ahead in life, about half of teens in the study said they were worried about losing scholarship opportunities and future job or college aspirations because of the pandemic.

Survey responses were gathered in the last week of August. About a third of survey participants reported they were going to attend school fully remote learning, and only seven percent were planning on full in-person learning.