Shaping kids’ futures from their experiences of COVID-19

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Children’s experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic are being sought by researchers investigating how youngsters have adapted to their situation.

Dr Justin Spinney and Dr Matluba Khan of Cardiff University, and Muntazar Monsur of Texas Tech University, are running a series of survey of children, all of which will feed into an international study covering the UK, USA, Taiwan, Singapore and Bangladesh.

The aim is to find out what kinds of activities children and young people have been doing during the pandemic and how they have adjusted to the huge changes brought on by the lockdown. Children aged from seven to 14 are invited to complete a seven-day activity diary, as well provide information on where they live and their family.

Future urban planning

One of the possible outcomes of the data that will be provided is influencing future urban planning policies, to ensure children have access to the services they need.

Dr Spinney, based at the University’s School of Geography and Planning, said: “Life for children has altered dramatically since the Covid-19 lockdown began. Away from school and separated from friends and wider family, the types of activities children are able to engage in may be affecting their social development and wellbeing. Social inequalities, access to technology and outdoor spaces are all likely to have had an impact.

‘Clearest insights’

“Gathering first-hand accounts from children will give us the clearest insights into the factors that have enabled them to cope in this difficult period. We hope parents, teachers and children will help spread the word about the diary so that our research is as wide-reaching as possible.”

Participants will be recruited opportunistically using social media, schools and word-of-mouth. The diary is available online and hard copies can also be distributed on request. Once completed, children can download a copy and a certificate of participation as a future reminder of what they were doing during lockdown.

Dr Matluba Khan said: “Children have faced huge challenges in recent weeks as they get used to a completely new way of life. The activities they can take part in and how well they are able to stay connected to others will have played major roles in how they have responded to these changes.

Future urban planning policies

“By gathering this data we hope to understand what access children have to outdoor spaces and technology, how their activities and social relationships have changed during lockdown, what control they have over their activities, and how this differs from country-to-country.”

The research will be used to inform future urban planning policies, to ensure that children have access to the right resources to maximise their resilience in normal daily life and in the face of any future social restrictions. Academics are hoping to have captured data from all countries by July.

The survey is running until the end of July, and – click here to access it. Parental consent is required for children wanting to take part.

The survey runs until the end of July and is running simultaneous in the UK, Singapore and Bangladesh. Click on the relevant link for that country’s survey. Parental consent is required for children.

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Author: Simon Weedy

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