Beyond the negative impact of COVID-19
Charlotte Wiseman

Editor's note: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every corner of the world. Contrary to the common belief that it is only going to have a negative impact on individuals, Charlotte Wiseman from the British Psychological Society suggests that the impact of the pandemic could be both negative and positive. Views expressed in this video are hers, and not necessarily those of CGTN.

CGTN: From a psychological point of view, what would be the impact of COVID-19 on individuals?

Wiseman: We are starting to see the impact and consider it. But we're really so soon. There's going to be an impact. I would suggest it's going to be long lasting, but equally there's not been any research yet into the possible positive outcomes of this pandemic. You know, the fact that we can work virtually, so can we close some buildings and help give people more freedom in their working? Is there the possibility that people will actually value their work and therefore enjoy it more and really commit to it? Whereas perhaps before they were complaining about it, now they see the benefit of it.

I think there's going to be a huge impact that we really can't predict, but I do think it's going to be positive as well as negative. And I do think that's really important at this time that we don't get too worried about the negative. We will focus on how we can harness the opportunities to make this a learning opportunity.

CGTN: How will the pandemic affect different age groups?

Wiseman: For younger children, toddlers under 10, I think they've got creativity and hopefully this will be an opportunity for them to really spark that creativity and that imagination. And certainly people I know with children of that age are finding that it is really stimulating creativity in them. And they're also used to using video conferencing that they're happy to have play dates over Zoom. It's great.

I think once you get into the teenage years, there's definitely that sense of wanting to be with their friends and there's a lot of concern amongst them about "But my exams. How is this going to impact my exams? I'm not getting the education." But [that is] something that I think schools will manage when people get back into education. And I think there are a lot of education systems which are really switched on to how they are going to make up for this gap.

I think that those children will find they are more self-motivated and more able to manage their time than perhaps we were, who went through education and were always really given guidelines. So I think that could have a really positive impact on how they can self-motivate and manage their time.

The working community that we've spoken a lot about – about this anxiety, this fear of jobs. I think people just coming out of university into jobs – they're going to be really triggered by the anxiety of that possibility... "What am I going to get for a job? How am I going to get a job?" I think they are possibly one of the groups that are going to need the most support through this. Not so much in terms of what's happening next, which is right now, to try and help them with that uncertainty and support them.

In the older years, isolation is really challenging because they're not so used to using video conferencing. I think that's a very difficult thing. So all we can do right now is to stay connected with those people. We can't have perhaps Zoom with our 80, 90-year-old relatives because they don't know how to use it. So it's difficult there.

So I think that older generation and maybe the university students are particularly the groups right now that we need to be focusing on, but it's going to affect everyone positive and negative. And I already know people in their seventies and eighties were getting used to all this technology that perhaps they never even knew existed. So that's a great opportunity for them to really feel connected. So yeah, always positives and negatives.

Interviewer: Xu Sicong

Video editing: Liu Shasha

Managing editor: Xu Sicong

Senior producer: Wei Wei

Managing director: Mei Yan

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