Life in lockdown

What do children and young people think?

A special report by and for young people

This special report was written by Maham, a member of our Unicef UK Youth Advisory Board for First News, on the findings of our polling of children and young people across the UK.

As schools look set to slowly reopen, children aged 6-16 shared their experience and opinions about the impact of the lockdown on their lives.

Children’s lives in the UK are being upended by the closure of schools and other restrictive measures made to contain the coronavirus. Many young people feel their opinions and feelings are overlooked on issues that affect their lives.

Their worries

Children and young people were asked what they were most worried about and here’s how some of them responded:

  • Almost 40% are worried about not seeing their friends
  • 1 in 3 are concerned about parents or guardians getting ill
  • Nearly 30% of children and young people worry about catching coronavirus
  • 17% worry about staying safe and 13% worry about the safety of their friends

We should all reach out to friends and family, who may be in a similar situation and who can discuss your feelings with you.

"With this extra time, our minds are more likely to wander into dark places, picturing the worst possible outcomes and slowly starting to believe that is where the future lies."

Home schooling

58% of children and young people are finding home schooling stressful and 1 in 10 told us that they aren’t receiving any home schooling at all. 18% of young people said they are worried about falling behind at school.

This all probably explains why more than half (54%) of respondents said they want to go back to the classroom soon.

Many of us didn’t expect to be upset over the cancellation of exams; there was a time when that would have been every student’s dream. A lot of us have been feeling like we are no longer in control of our future, which can understandably make us anxious.

The future

Even the darkest times in our lives will come to pass, and I hope that we will see a brighter world on the other side.

It is clear from the poll children and young people are worried about the future.

That’s why my fellow Unicef UK Youth Advisory Board members and I (that’s me – third from the right!) wrote an open letter calling on the Government to address UK children directly on the coronavirus response and how it affects children’s lives. We’ve almost had 15,000 people sign our letter.

I hope you will join them and add your name!

UNICEF UK Youth Advisory Board members stand together in front of the UNICEF UK sign

"We’re asking the UK Government to speak directly to young people in a special age-appropriate broadcast." Add your name to our open letter →

Find out more