Children and young people ‘worried’ about their post-corona futures

Thousands of children and young people in Scotland say they are hugely worried about the impact of coronavirus on their futures, with mental health and well-being among their chief concerns.

They were responding to the Lockdown Survey by the Scottish Youth Parliament, which was open to every school pupil and student in the country, and asked them about their coronavirus concerns.

Over 2,400 took part in the survey, which showed that an overwhelming amount – some 96 per cent – worry about their future, with over three quarters (77 per cent) worried about their mental health and wellbeing. The findings also suggested that girls are doing less well in boys in several areas, including their general mood, boredom, being worried and the feeling that they lack ‘energy’.

‘Extremely concerned about their future’

While around 40 per cent said they were not confident about accessing information on mental health and wellbeing, the majority did know how to access information, advice and updates around lockdown. However, this is countered by the finding that 61 per cent don’t know where to access information on financial support, and this is at a time when almost three-quarters of young people are concerned about their financial situation. Around 42 per cent stated that they were extremely or moderately concerned about school, college and university closures, and respondents also expressed more concern regarding exams and coursework.

The results will help to support youth work organisations and practitioners. In addition, the Scottish Youth Parliament may use the results to inform its policy work and Young Scot may use results to help develop its services and digital information for young people.

Read the full Lockdown Lowdown survey here

The Children’s Parliament meanwhile recently closed its first survey gathering the views of eight to 14-year-olds living in Scotland and has published the Corona Times Journal which will help adults to understand the impact that the coronavirus is having on children’s lives. The journal is written by twelve Members of Children Parliament, aged between eight and 14 years old. The themes explored include learning at home and being online. The children also reflect on being bored, feeling good, and share some of their questions and worries.

‘Children struggling with boredom and loneliness’

Almost 4,000 children participated in the Children’s Parliament survey, which found:

  • Most children are doing well, with the support of parents, carers, sisters and brothers and friends. Most children have an adult at home or outside the home they can go to with worries (although less so for boys compared to girls). Most children are safe at home.
  • There are indications that girls are doing less well than boys in a number of ways including their general mood, feeling bored, worries, feeling like they lack ‘energy’ and they are less likely to feel in current times that they will be okay.
  • There are indications that older children aged 12 to 14 are doing less well than younger children age 8 – 11 in a number of ways including loneliness, their general mood, feeling bored, being able to exercise, feeling they can express their opinions and less of a connection with family.
  • Some children are struggling with boredom, loneliness and a range of worries including about their own health and wellbeing and that of their family; Being indoors more and learning at home impacts on the physical and mental health of children. Some children feel like they lack energy or do not make healthy choices.
  • There are indications that children do not feel enough control over what they are learning or that they are not enjoying and worrying about learning at home, this is especially true for 12 to 14-year olds. 1 in 5 worry about their family having enough money.

The survey will be repeated every month, children aged 8-14 can take part in May’s Children’s Parliament survey here. Read the Children’s Parliament April 2020 survey results here 

Author: Simon Weedy

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