No Survey Needed to Know Kids Are Bored During COVID-19
It's Already Been A Long Two Months
Why Have A Study On Something We All Knew?
Straight from the files of pointless research comes a new poll designed specifically for the lockdown and aimed for kids ages 10 to 17 with the consent of their parents.
The goal? To see how kids have been feeling during this pandemic.
I realize that as a parent and as a teacher, I have a bit more insight into children than the average person simply by virtue of me spending a whole lot of time with them. One would have to be completely obtuse to not have some degree of understanding of children when one spends 14 to 18 hours daily - the other 6 to 10 hours, if I'm lucky, of course being dedicated to sleep - with them. However, at the risk of sounding horribly cliché, it does not take a rocket scientist to determine that kids are bored.
I know that the notion of kids being bored when they have what appears to be an abundance of free time comes as no shock. Parents have been lamenting for years that within a week of summer vacation starting, their children are already proclaiming how bored they are and how they have nothing to do. However, there's one significant difference between a standard summer vacation and what's happening right now. During summer vacation, kids are generally allowed seeing their friends outside of a virtual realm. Older kids can go to their regular jobs and work and make money, or they can see their boyfriends or girlfriends. Kids can go to parks and beaches and malls and well, be kids away from adults.
Since mid-March (at least in North America; I realize that in Europe and Asia it's been far longer), we've all been asked to limit our contact with the outside world. The usual venues where we might amuse ourselves - movie theatres, play centres, and the like - have been shut, with no real idea as to when they might re-open. Even school, where most kids over the age of about 4 spend six hours daily five days a week and approximately 197 days of the year, has been off-limits, so how are kids able to socialize with their peers?
Instead, it's all Mom, Dad and siblings, all the time, and that definitely can lead to a sense of boredom.
Don't misunderstand me; I am aware that families do love each other and express that love in various ways, largely by doing things together. However, it's also really important for kids to regularly interact with people their own age, and as they get older, that becomes a greater need. It's not that they don't enjoy their parents, but they need to hang out with their friends and just be kids.
Small wonder the kids are getting bored. Right now, they're being told to do their schoolwork via Google Classroom or whatever the learning platform that the school board supports is. If they want to hang with their buddies, they're being told to FaceTime or video chat with them. We all are inundated like never before with the message that technology is a necessity rather than a "nice to have" and because we cannot just go and hang out with people like we used to, being online has lost a whole lot of its charm.
Kids need to actually see their people in real life and talk without an adult nearby. They need to talk in their own peer groups about whatever it is kids talk about - even if it is how lame their parents are - as kids without having to worry about whether their parent or sibling will overhear something and take it the wrong way. They need to be goofy on their own with friends that get their inside jokes, and they need to be able to just be themselves rather than "kid, son/daughter of parent" all the time, which is the role they're finding themselves in now.
When all your extra activities have effectively been taken from you, it's not healthy. Granted, the alternative right now - catching a virus for which there is no vaccine currently - is not the greatest option, but there is something to be said about the impact on our mental health when we can't hang out with the people who aren't family.
Why Angus Reid decided that a study about how kids are feeling during the lockdown is a mystery, to an extent - particularly when it should only take a matter of empathy to understand how kids are feeling right now.
Adults themselves are, to an extent, struggling with boredom. Granted, adults have some bigger problems at hand than children might - not the least of which is wondering whether or not their job is still going to be there when the COVID-19 crisis passes (and it will eventually pass). However, if we as adults are struggling with boredom right now, why wouldn't it make sense after a moment or two of thought to realize that the kids are bored as well?
Did we really need a study to figure that one out?