COVID-19 and the Future for Young People
The virus has made many young people apprehensive about the future
27% Feel unhappy, afraid or sad
“Covid-19 came and changed all aspects of our life and became an intruder we are forced to live with.”
“It feels like COVID-19 has ruined a lot of things that I was looking forward to – but there are greater, more serious losses than my summer abroad.”
19% Feel optimistic
“I truly believe this has been positive because it has made us think about how important it is to value what’s really precious in life. I believe this pandemic has made us better people.”
22% Feel bored
“Isolated without friends, work or a university graduation.”
“It affected my routine a lot, my work gave me a vacation, I haven’t returned to work yet.”
Their worries focus on three key areas:
“I’m worried about my education as it is a practical course and I’ve missed a third.”
“I am a bit worried about results day as I would have preferred to sit my exam. I feel like it’s crazy for a teacher to try to predict what you could’ve got since some students could have done better or worse.”
Other young people are anxious about their future and current job prospects, with some having lost their jobs already.
“I know a friend of mine has made the decision to do a masters rather than find a job because of corona…”
“I’m extremely worried about my career as I wanted to spend this summer doing internships and work experience to help me for the future.”
Lockdown limits opportunities to maintain and form friendships and relationships.
“It’s also made me afraid to start dating again because I’m afraid to be in close proximity with someone.”
“I think that what has been most affected is personal relationships, of course they are still maintained through social networks but it is not the same as sharing in person.”
They’ve immersed themselves in indoor hobbies
51% Bake/cook more often
50% Read more often
49% Use subscription TV services more often
41% Use broadcaster streaming services more often
“Well, I guess the good thing was the opportunity to spend some more time hanging out with my family, I got to do all of my hobbies, and I learned new house skills such as cooking or doing laundry.”
“I have met with people in the garden but it’s nice not having to feel like I’m doing something everyday. Most days I have just been reading which I am enjoying.”
“I have started paying for my own Netflix account again and have been watching everything I can get my hands on from Sex Education to Rick and Morty to You to Sherlock. I’ve been watching more of this because I have more time and nothing to do as I was originally working towards my exams.”
“Bingeing a lot of shows that have been cluttering my watchlist.”
50% Now watch more content via social platforms (e.g. Instagram)
The constant influx of new content on social platforms has kept many young people entertained while stuck inside.
For some it has become a way to educate themselves on the world’s most pressing issues.
A key attraction is the ability to tailor the content (e.g. the video) to a particular interest.
“Youtube! Daily Vlogs in lockdown, cooking videos, hauls basically anything lol Instagram TV, lots of information on race and racial structures from incredible people on that platform. Very informative and engaging. TikTok, just mindnumbingly funny but silly and a great way to kill time”
“TikTok and Instagram, mainly things with a comedic value and it is because I have a lot more time on my hands”
“I’ve been watching more instagram stories as I’ve got more spare time on my hands and instagram is easy to watch and it’s nice to see what other people are doing at this time. i enjoy watching vloggers and crafting videos for other hobbies I can pick up.”
51% Now use social media more
Similarly to social platforms, social media has been used by young people more since lockdown to stay connected and engaged with current issues.
While both social media and social platforms have been used to kill time, younger people seem to be more negative about using social media – emphasising coping with boredom rather than pursuing interests.
“I’m using Instagram a lot more – way more than I should be. I mainly just scroll through it as I don’t have much to post. I think I’m using it to see what friends are up to but also probably a lot of comparison culture, like how ‘influencers’ are making the lockdown look like a relaxing time to improve yourself when in reality I don’t have that.”
“I am using Instagram and Reddit more. I have more time to stay up to date with news and other interesting stories. This is because I have more free time and helps me to feel like I’m staying connected to the outside world.”
“I’m using more instagram, twitter and facebook. I don’t really do particular things on these platforms. The main thing that has increased is activism in solidarity with the BLM movement. Sharing and signing petitions, sharing information via instagram stories and retweeting on twitter. I’m using these more than before COVID-19 because I’m getting bored quicker.”
Making up for lost time
Making up for lost time is at the forefront of plans for 2021, and getting away is by far the most popular way to do so.
“My plan would be visiting a couple of beautiful and interesting countries in order to make up for this difficult year. I hope I can do it with my family and enjoy the experience.”
“Travel Travel Travel. I have already had to cancel 3 trips this year and now I finally have money i can plan more adventures for 2021. Want to go to some festivals in other countries.”
Festivalgoers were hard-hit by the lockdown this year, but look to make the most of events in 2021.
“Green man festival was cancelled so it’s been rescheduled for 2021!”
“We’ll see what the situation is like by 2021, but I’m planning to work at Glastonbury or Reading.”
“… I have also really missed festival season so I will definitely make the most of every festival I can next year.”
Other young people are looking forward to postponed celebrations of events such as marriage and graduation.
“Definitely going all out! All my tickets for events and festivals have been rebooked for Summer 2021, and I will have two graduation ceremonies instead of one (my BA and MA!)”
“I am planning my wedding at the moment which has been an absolute nightmare due to the uncertainty in the events and hospitality sector.”
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