Survey reveals 18% of those aged 10-17 are dissatisfied with their lives.
More than a million teenagers in the UK have been unhappy with their lives during the coronavirus lockdown, according to a new poll.
The nationwide survey for The Children’s Society revealed that 18% young people aged between ten and 17 had been dissatisfied with their lives since lockdown began in March – equivalent to 1.1 million children across the country.
Over the last five years this figure has ranged from ten to 13%, and the charity believes the sharp increase has been caused by the impact of the lockdown. Its report, Life On Hold, also found that half of parents 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.
Young people said the aspects of coronavirus they struggled to cope most with were being unable to see friends (37%) and family (30%). Overall, 89% of young people surveyed said they were worried about the virus.
Despite this, a majority of children (84%) said they had coped to some extent with the impact of the pandemic overall. Girls reported coping less well than boys with being unable to see friends, school or college closures and exam cancellations.
The survey also revealed fears about the financial impact of coronavirus among parents along with evidence that children in poverty were more worried during lockdown.
Mark Russell, chief executive at The Children’s Society, said: “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.
“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.
“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.”