In January we asked children and young people in Wales to share their views and experiences of the latest Coronavirus lockdown through a survey.
Almost 20,000 took part aged between 3-18.
Frustrations and anger
Strong negative feelings were expressed by many children and young people; they expressed frustration, and sometimes anger, about the impact of the pandemic on their lives. 3 – 7 year olds spoke about missing friends, family members and experiences. From mid-teens on, there were signs of additional distress, potentially compounded by worries about exams and their futures. 30% of 17 and 18 year olds who took part report that they are worried ‘most of the time’.
Loneliness rates are high and not being able to see friends is having the biggest impact on children’s lives, followed by not being able to see other family members and the impact of school and college closures. 14% of children aged 7-11 report that they feel lonely ‘most of the time’, and feelings of loneliness increase with age, peaking at 40% of 17 year olds reporting that they feel lonely ‘most of the time’.
Over half of young people aged 12-18 enjoy learning at their own pace from home, but many are worried about falling behind with learning – levels of confidence and motivation with education are seen to decrease with age. A large majority of 15-18 year olds are concerned about falling behind, their qualifications and 69% report low motivation to do school work.
Children who often face more barriers to accessing their rights even when there is no global pandemic, have also faced more struggles on average than their peers.
Disabled children and young people are more likely to be worried about coronavirus, more likely to feel sad, more likely to feel unsafe.
Children and young people of Black, Asian and other ethnic minority groups are more likely to feel lonely and less likely to say they feel safe than their peers.
Positives from the pandemic
Despite the worries and concerns that children and young people are reporting, many are also reporting positive experiences, as they did in the last nationwide survey in May 2020, including enjoying spending time at home and receiving good support from schools and youth workers.