As Covid-19 drags into a new school year, and second waves threaten many countries lucky enough to have escaped their first, the more intangible consequences of illness, lockdown and quarantine are becoming gradually apparent.
According to a disturbing new report from Save the Children, the pandemic’s impact on the youngest generation has been deep and detrimental — and is getting worse. The 37-country survey taken from May through July 2020 of 17,565 parents and caregivers, and 8,069 children aged between 11 and 17, revealed:
- More than 8 in 10 children felt they were learning little or nothing at all
- 37% of children said they had no one to help them with their schoolwork
- Only 68% of children had access to textbooks; 42% to reading books; 7% to an educational cellphone or tablet app; and 2% for an educational computer program
- Less than 1% of children from poor households had internet access for remote learning, compared with 19% of non-poor children
- 63% of girls reported doing more household chores during Covid-19, and 52% spent more time caring for siblings; the rates for boys were 43% and 42%, respectively
- Reports of household violence doubled from 8% to 17% during school closure; 32% of households reported physical or emotional violence in their home during the pandemic
Of the study’s many unsettling findings, one may bode especially ill for the future wellbeing of a global cohort of impressionable minds: how the pandemic’s psychological impact has intensified over time.
As the chart below illustrates, while 63% of children experienced an increase in “negative feelings” during the initial weeks of school closure, this rate rose steeply as the lockdown continued. Indeed, by month five of closure, 95% of children reported greater negative feelings — the same rate as their adult parents or caregivers. If this emotional burden persists, it could well become a formative psychological scar for “Generation Covid.” –Bloomberg