COVID-19: Surveys reveal children and young people’s thoughts and feelings

Date: 1st May 2020
Category: Disability, Basic Health and Welfare, Civil Rights and Freedoms, Education, Leisure and Cultural Activities, Family Environment and Alternative Care, General principles

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The results of the Lockdown Lowdown survey have revealed that 96% of young people worry about the impact of coronavirus on their future, with 77% worried about their mental health and wellbeing. The Children’s Parliament survey indicates that girls are doing less well in boys in several ways, including their general mood, feeling bored, being worried and the feeling that they lack 'energy'.

The Lockdown Lowdown survey was open to school, college, and university- aged participants from every community in Scotland, asking participants to share their concerns about COVID-19.

More than 2,400 young people across Scotland participated and the survey found more than three-quarters (77%) of young people are concerned about their mental wellbeing and two in five (40%) young people are not confident accessing information on mental health and wellbeing. While nine out of ten (91%) young people know how to access information, advice and updates around lockdown, 61% don’t know where to access information on financial support. This comes at a time when almost three-quarters (70%) of young people are concerned about their financial situation.

With regards to education, over two fifths (42%) stated that they were extremely or moderately concerned about school, college and university closures. Respondents expressed more concern regarding exams and coursework, with around half (49%) stating that they were moderately or extremely concerned.

These 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.

The Children’s Parliament has recently closed its first survey gathering the views of 8 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 8 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.

Almost 4,000 children participated in the Children’s Parliament survey. The survey 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.