Challenges Teens Face During Virtual Learning

With the back-to-school season finally here, things definitely look different this year. The pandemic has changed almost every aspect of our lives, and even though virtual learning has been around for a while, it’s never been utilized as it is today. Although they are likely familiar with the technology, most high school students haven’t had to take a class online, and are used to showing up to school each day. The rapid transition to distance learning created a few challenges, and continues to be a source of stress for many teens and parents. 

A Virtual Learning Environment

Just like parents working from home, teens need the proper environment to learn. This means a quiet, dedicated space for them to focus on their education. However, this isn’t always possible for every family. Living in a smaller space may not leave room for each family member to have their own personal space, and if multiple children and parents are all working and learning from home, there are often a multitude of distractions. To overcome this challenge, it’s important to communicate with all family members and be respectful of each learning environment. Investing in some noise-cancelling headphones can help too!

Access to Technology

Perhaps the most obvious challenge facing many families as school starts back up is the need for technology. In order to access distance learning, teens will need a working computer and a strong internet connection. Although technology is more common now in most households, it’s not something everyone already has. Additionally, if your teen hasn’t participated in online classes before, there may be a bit of a learning curve to get into the swing of things. Research ahead of time what technology is needed, and contact the school to ensure your teen can be successful in their classes even from home. There are also many great organizations like Computers 2 Kids working to help provide technologies to families transitioning to remote learning.

Feelings of Isolation

Going to school is one of the main forms of social interaction for many teens. Now that they are engaging in virtual learning, it can be difficult to form strong connections and maintain relationships which leads to feelings of isolation and loneliness. Connection is so important during these teen years, so try to encourage your teen to video call with friends during breaks, and collaborate with classmates whenever possible.

Staying Motivated

Without the structure of a traditional classroom, many students fail to stay focused. Time management skills and self-motivation are extremely important skills for virtual learning. Without proper self-motivation, teens can quickly fall behind in their classes, and their grades can slip. Be aware of this issue, and openly communicate with them about it. Encourage your teen to be open about when they need help, schedule time to study, and keep a positive outlook. 


Although we don’t know how long virtual learning will be around, it’s something teens need to adapt to for now. However, along with the stress of these challenges also come new skills that will contribute to their future success. For extra help staying on track, Tilly’s Life Center has got you covered. By providing students with stress management skills, anxiety reduction techniques, and more, they can help set teens up for success this semester, and hopefully ease some of the stress these challenges create for everyone.