How Covid-19 affects Youth?
Covid-19, in some ways, is affecting everyone including children and youth.
The Children and youth’s worriness have stemmed from different issues, from physical health, mental health, education challenges to economy regression.
UNICEF together with The Children and Youth Council of Thailand, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and United Nations Population Fund(UNFPA) surveyed 6,771 individuals from all 77 provinces from 28th March – 10th April ,which aimed to understand how Covid-19 has affected this specific group of people and what are their concerns and needs.
This article will brief the survey findings and highlight some of their thoughts on the impact of pandemic that cause to their personal life.
8 out of 10 youths answered that they were worried about the economic status of their family members, since most of them still rely on their parents. This means that they are affected as well.
The financial stability also had something to do with education as they have to pay for university admission fees and tuition fees. Some youths opined that education should be cheaper, if not free, adding that the government should subsidize or provide more scholarships to the students.
From the economic aspect, some youths work part-time while studying to support themselves financially. Some of them worked in informal sectors. The government schemes to alleviate the affected employees; namely through social security schemes and through 5,000 THB handout package, seem to not cover this group of people. It is also found that 23 percent of respondents who work full-time and part-time indicated that they were unemployed due to the pandemic.
For those who just graduated, over 30% were seeking for jobs. The fact that many businesses have been shut down during the lockdown makes them worry about their own future.
What’s inevitable when it comes to Covid-19 is a worry. There were many issues bothering young people. 7 out of 10 revealed that life during lockdown has caused them stress, boredom, lack of motivation, and distress.
Some youth’s concerns were directly related to the pandemic. They were fearful whether they or their families would be infected as well as whether they would be able to access PPE due to the supply shortage and high prices.
Media and the government management also mattered. Some youths mentioned that they hoped the government revealed the information and data more transparently. Some explained that they were concerned about the uncertainty of government policies in dealing with the Covid-19 situation.
Regarding the media, the influx of information which sometimes hard to distinguish between truth and fake news cause them anxiety.
In a personal level, keeping oneself in a house due to the lockdown and not seeing anyone except family members while their activities were limited by space made them feel uncomfortable and distressful about staying at home.
The answers from the survey also showed that LGBTQI youths were worried about their gender identity. Four percent said they feel uncomfortable and pressured about staying at home as they are unable to express themselves in front of their family members. Additionally, some who have continuously taken hormones faced difficulties in getting the supplies.
For youth, education is considered as one of the biggest matters. As the schools continued postponing new semester dates, the students were worried about their educational plan, especially those who are about to change their educational institutions or those who plan to continue their education at a higher level such as from high schools to universities.
When it comes to online classrooms, though most agreed that classes shall be carried on even under the new form, some youths questioned about accessibility, efficiency, and readiness of the new normal.
The saying ‘Home is where the heart is’ may be true to some people but definitely not to all. Some find it hard to confront the situation occurring in the house as lockdown somehow forced them to stay together.
7 percent of the respondents addressed that they were concerned about domestic violence as there were conflicts among the parents.