Nearly one in five children aged 10-17 in the UK have reported feeling unhappy with their lives as a whole during the coronavirus lockdown, according to a new survey.
The annual survey by the Children’s Society found 18% of children were dissatisfied with their lives overall.
That is a marked increase in a figure which has ranged from 10 per cent to 13 per cent over the last five years.
The charity said the coronavirus crisis and lockdown is likely to explain the worrying surge.
Its new report – Life On Hold – also found that half of parents (50%) expected coronavirus to harm their children’s happiness over the coming year.
It found that, while for the last two years more children reported being unhappy with school than with nine other aspects of their lives, this year more young people said they were unhappy with the amount of ‘choice’ they have.
When parents and their children were asked questions about the impact of coronavirus, nearly half (46%) of parents reported their child was unhappier with how much choice they have in their lives due to the pandemic.
The survey found fears about the financial impact of coronavirus among parents – and evidence that children in poverty were more worried during lockdown.
Nearly two in three parents (63%), said adults in the household had worked less.
Almost half (49%) said family income had reduced and 11% said an adult in their household had lost their job.
A higher proportion of young people in poverty stated they were ‘very worried’ about coronavirus than those not in poverty (23% compared to 15%). Overall, nine in 10 of all children (89%) said they were worried to some extent about coronavirus.
‘Children’s lives have been turned upside down by the coronavirus crisis and these worrying findings suggest it has already harmed the happiness and well-being of many young people,’ said charity chief executive, Mark Russell.
‘They have been left unable to attend school or see friends and relatives, while at the same time being trapped at home with parents and siblings who may have their own worries and anxieties about the situation.
‘Even before the pandemic, children’s happiness with life was at its lowest for a decade and we know there is a link between low well-being and mental health conditions like anxiety and depression,’ added Mr Russell.
‘Urgent action is needed now as we recover from coronavirus to reset how we support children’s well-being and prevent this crisis harming a whole generation of young people.
‘That must mean introducing measurement of children’s well-being, support as they return to school, a properly funded early intervention strategy and better financial support for low-income families.’
Photo Credit – Sasint (Pixabay)