Will wearing masks hinder the development of children’s social skills?

When children are born, they can see people and things around them with their eyes. Through the eyes, you can distinguish between positive and negative emotions, and then learn how to adapt to your environment.

To be sure, covering the lower half of your face with a mask will affect this ability. An article published in Frontiers in psychology in May 2021 found that it was difficult for children aged 3 to 5 to read their emotions from photos without masks compared with photos without masks.

However, Walter Gilliam, a professor of child psychiatry and psychology at the Yale Center for children’s studies, said the study had limitations because it used still images. “We don’t just know people through our eyes.” For children, each other’s walking style, tone of voice, gestures and so on are clues to interpret feelings, but “this study excluded all these clues.”

Citing another study published in the journal PLoS One on December 23, 2020, Gilliam explained that facts have shown that children have the same difficulty in reading the emotions of people wearing masks as those wearing sunglasses.

It should be noted that these studies are conducted at a specific stage of growth. As long as children are given the opportunity, they will gradually adapt to the subject over time. “Children will soon understand the emotions of people wearing masks,” Gilliam said “Believe more in children’s abilities.”

Gilbert also believes that there is no sign that wearing masks will hinder the growth of children and adolescents’ social skills. Wearing masks enables them to go to school and integrate into society.


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