For 18-year-old high school senior Joe Perry, the past year has been full of emotional ups and downs. As his school cycled through online and hybrid learning arrangements, social events were cancelled and friendships moved to social media exclusively.
“There’s a feeling of being almost more bonded with certain friends in the shared trauma of the pandemic, but feeling more distant at the same time,” he explains.
With disrupted routines, isolation and missed rituals, COVID-19 has been especially challenging for young people. Research shows that reduced social interactions during adolescence, such as a lack of face-to-face contact with peers, may have a substantial effect on teens’ brain and behavioral development. Health care claims among teens doubled in March and April of last year compared to 2019.