One in three UK children between five and 18 years old (36%) have told parents they are lonely since the government shut schools, a survey reveals.
The YouGov survey also finds that almost a third of parents (32%) of five to 18-year-olds have noticed negative changes in their children’s behaviour since lockdown. They include behaviours such as tantrums, meltdowns, nightmares, stomach aches, fighting and crying. Over one in five (22%) children are concerned a family member or close friend could die from catching coronavirus.
The poll of parents, for international children’s charity World Vision, shows that younger children are more likely to worry about catching coronavirus. They are also the most likely to tell parents they are lonely and missing friends and family. Children 5-11 years old are more likely than older children to become clingy, cry and have tantrums and disturbed sleep. Children over 12 years old are more likely to become withdrawn.
"Our survey opens a worrying window on children’s emotional turmoil at this bleak time. It shows how the global pandemic is taking a toll on children’s mental well-being – leaving them frightened, insecure and isolated. Children experience a crisis like this differently to adults. They pick up on anxiety around them and get destabilised by dramatic changes in their daily routines and strict restrictions on their movements. Their emotions become disturbed and confused. Many begin to act out their tension through challenging behaviour or withdraw into their shells."
- Daniela Buzducea, World Vision Global Advocacy Leader