The global pandemic Covid 19 has dramatically shaken the economic, financial and social structure of Canada. As a response to the pandemic, the policies put into place to contain the spread of the virus have had remarkably disrupting effects on the economic and social lives of Canadians.
In particular, how have the youth in Canada been impacted by this virus? Let’s take a look at the 5 major ways in which Covid 19 has affected the youth in Canada.
The foremost impact on the Canadian youth has been with regards to their schooling. Virtual schooling has been challenging for students and teachers across Canada. Some of the challenges include: lack of access to school resources, no peers and teachers physically present for motivation and adjusting to online learning.
Many students that have shifted to online learning have reported being unable to complete some or all of their school work. Also, students from lower income families are further disadvantaged due to not being able to afford internet services or equipment or having a comfortable home environment in which to attend school.
Work & Finances
The economic shutdown due to the pandemic has left a devastating impact on employment opportunities for Canadian youth. Many young Canadians have seen their summer jobs, graduation plans and internships disappear. Employment levels amongst the youth have fallen and postsecondary students are extremely worried about their financial situation. These concerns include: having to take on more student debt, paying for tuition next term and using up their savings.
The Government of Canada has responded by introducing the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). This is a comprehensive emergency support package to help young Canadians in these unprecedented times. To date, over $2.9 billion in CESB payments have been made to approximately 700,000 post-secondary students across Canada.
Due to work and school from home, families have more opportunities to connect with each other. A youth survey data showed that youth reported to be having more meaningful conversations with family members since the pandemic. However, they also reported to be having more arguments with them. For most Canadian youth, the worst part about being stuck at home is that they miss their friends. Research also shows that they are more concerned about the health of older family members than they are about their own health.
Increased Screen Time | Reduced Exercise
The Canadian youth have seen an alarming increase in screen time. Almost all activities including studying, working, interacting with friends and family, shopping and entertainment have become inextricably linked with screen time. Such an increased dose of screen time is having a negative impact on the physical and mental health of young Canadians.
Added to that is the fact that the youth have reduced opportunities to engage in physical exercises. Lockdowns and social distancing measures have drastically cut down chances to play sports and engage in other outdoor activities.
Since the onset of the pandemic, young Canadians have experienced the greatest decline in mental health. They can no longer meet up with their friends and extended family or make plans to hang out. There are no parties to look forward to and no get-togethers or events to plan.
Due to poor mental health, youth aged 15-34 have also been prone to the increased usage of substances especially the use of cannabis.
It is important to keep monitoring the long term impact of the pandemic on the youth. They are no longer going to school physically, meeting friends, playing team sports or engaging in extracurricular activities, all of which could have a drastic impact on their academic and character development.