Digital Youth Work During COVID-19

Cons of DYW

Youth work has changed drastically due to COVID-19, here are some of the cons that come with the new digital approach.

  • No face to face youth work, which means it is on digital platforms such as Zoom, this can be very challenging to some young people who are socially awkward and aren't able to speak to large groups of people as everyone is listening to what they are saying, instead, they would usually be able to speak to whomever they like in confidence or avoid conversation (which is difficult to do on a Zoom call).
  • Young people love youth groups as it is a place they can go instead of walking about the streets or in other people's houses. Zoom does not give them the same experience as they cannot go anywhere except their house and they are constantly on their phone or other devices.
  • Some young people would rather go on the phone/ play games with their friends than come online to a youth group.
  • Due to COVID-19 it is apparent that no one can meet up, this was a key factor for young people attending youth groups as they were able to speak about personal matters and meet new people and socialise in general. Although, now, on Zoom, this isn’t possible without telling the whole group, this means no one can release how they feel by talking to who they used to.
  • Young people cannot speak to youth workers in private about any problems or issues they have in their life which can lead to them bottling things up, this then worsens mental health and can lead to issues such as depression, anxiety etc.

Pros of DYW.

Due to COVID-19, youth work had to go digital. Even though there are many cons of digital youth work, there are also some pros. These include:

  • Following the statement that DYW (digital youth work), may be a negative to socially awkward young people, it could also be a positive. This could be a positive because they can go on mute or turn their camera off during the youth group on zoom/Microsoft teams etc.
  • Another pro of DYW is the fact that you do not need to travel anywhere, this can possibly save money on petrol or bus fayre and it also means you don’t have to arrange lifts from family/friends.
  • The obvious one would be that, youth work digitally does not spread COVID-19...

Conclusion

Generally, there are more negatives to DYW than there are of positives. Overall, we would say that it is not working effectively, this is because young people want to socialise face to face so bad and cannot be bothered being on their devices all day, especially to talk to youth workers and new people. To try and solve the issue we, as youth workers must come up with new and enticing games and activities for the young people, this is because face to face youth work is not an option yet and we must keep pushing to help young people through this global pandemic and also evolve with them.