Canadian kids miss their friends, fear missing out on school: survey
Published Monday, May 11, 2020 3:44PM CST
WINNIPEG -- Over the last two months, the pandemic has brought a new unexpected reality of staying home for many Canadians. A new survey from the Angus Reid Institute is looking at how this is affecting kids.
The Angus Reid Institute released its findings in a new report called 'Kids & COVID-19' about how children in Canada are dealing with the pandemic.
The non-profit institution said it asked 650 children between the ages of 10 and 17 from across the country about their thoughts and concerns.
“Seventy-one per cent (of children) say the word they would use to describe what they’ve been experiencing in the last couple weeks is boredom,” said Shachi Kurl, executive director of the Angus Reid Institute.
The study said older children are twice as likely to feel “angry” compared to younger people aged 10 to 15.
“I think feelings of anger can be connected to a sense of powerlessness and feeling a bit out of control,” said Marion Cooper, executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Manitoba and Winnipeg.
“There useful routines and normal lives have been interrupted in a significant way.”
When it comes to online learning, the study said 75 per cent reported keeping up with their studies, but 60 per cent said they are unmotivated. About 57 per cent said they dislike having to learn from home.
More than half (54 per cent) of the respondents said they miss their friends, only 16 percent said they miss extracurricular activities. When asked how they would feel about returning to the class in the next month, only 36 per cent said they are looking forward to it.
Kurl said concern about school is intensified among older teenagers.
“If you’re in grade 11 or 12, you’re really worried about the lost school time," said Kurl. “This is the culmination of so many years of hard work, whether it’s being accepted into University or maybe going to college on a sports scholarship.”
So what are children doing to fill their time in isolation? According to the study, about 88 per cent said they are watching movies and streaming TV and media content. About 74 per cent of the respondents listed video games as an outlet. The study found older teens are spending time on social media and calling and texting friends.
Cooper said there are things parents can do if they’re concerned about their children’s mental health.
“Minimize their exposure with the news, and the constant focus on the impact this is having,” said Cooper. “Getting active and getting outdoors, those are all really important strategies that promote mental and well being.”
Angus Reid Institute conducted this online survey between May 1 and 4 among 650 Canadian children whose parents are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The Angus Reid Institute said for comparison purposes only a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- four percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Parents and guardians were asked first if they had children between the ages of 10 and 17 and if they would give their consent for the children to take part in the survey. Angus Reid Institute said it drew interviewees from key demographic groups, including household income, education levels and official languages spoken.