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Protecting Children in Virtual Learning Environments: Warning Signs of Abuse for Teachers

Guest Post By Noah Rue

As a teacher, it’s not necessarily difficult to pick up on obvious signs of abuse when you’re in the classroom. You may have even gone through training to look out for the warning signs. If a student has obvious physical symptoms, complains about being hungry, tired, or even confides in you about problems at home, you can take action.

But, those signs of abuse are even less prominent or obvious when it comes to virtual learning.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the face of learning over the last year. In the early stages of the pandemic, 45 states ended up closing schools for in-person learning. Even some childcare centers were forced to shut their doors. K-12 students had to learn to use technology and transition to virtual learning. While some have gone back to in-person school, many parts of the country are still under strict rules to keep everyone safe, so virtual learning is likely to be in place for a while.

You already know teaching your students through a webcam or looking at them on Zoom isn’t the same as guiding them in-person. There are several hurdles to overcome. But, one of the biggest is recognizing potential problems. So, what can you do in a virtual learning environment to notice any warning signs of abuse?

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Children who are struggling with problems in their home may give off a variety of warning signs when they’re coming to school virtually. Neglect, for example, is often considered a form of abuse. There are different types of neglect, including:

● Physical

● Psychological/Emotional

● Medical