A Qustodio study looking into how the personal, digital and educational lives of children have changed during the pandemic, and what it means for their future.
Centennials, the before and after of a generation marked by Covid
Today, we released insights from our study: Centennials, the before and after of a generation marked by Covid based on a survey we ran of 1000 parents to gather their impressions of how the Coronavirus pandemic has affected their children’s lives on a personal, digital and educational level. We asked them the same kind of questions we as parents ask ourselves: Is your child online more than before the pandemic? Would you consider your child to be addicted to digital devices? How has their mood changed, if at all? Do you think your child learns better or worse online? How is your child sleeping, eating, getting along with friends and family? Is your child getting outside enough? Getting enough exercise? We also asked parents if they have had to buy new devices? Or signed up for any new online services?
The answers from parents were clear. Children are spending much more time online than before both for school and for entertainment, and it is affecting them negatively, especially in terms of social life and education. And parents may be unwittingly contributing to the problem by buying new digital devices and signing up for new online services. About a third of parents bought a new computer or digital device for their child during the pandemic. Many families started paying for video streaming services like Netflix.
Another concern is that parents don’t seem to think that bullying is as much of an issue online. Only 2% reported their child had experienced cyberbullying during the pandemic. This is a concern, because most reports on bullying (including cyberbullying) is on the rise, up 70%.
Another alarming statistic was how little time children are getting outside. A third of children in Spain aren’t getting outdoors even the minimum recommended 1 hour a day (up to 40% in Madrid). This is especially concerning given that most parents report that their child’s eating habits haven’t changed. With the same calories being consumed but less calories being burned pediatricians worry about increases in obesity, already a concern before the pandemic.
Covid Kids study insights
- 65% of parents do not believe that Covid-19 has changed the probability that their child is a victim of bullying, although cyberbullying has increased by 70%.
- Social relations and education, with 85% and 82% respectively, are the areas in which children have been most affected by Covid-19.
- 1 in 3 Spanish households has acquired a new digital device due to the pandemic.
- Approximately 6 out of 10 families say that the pandemic has caused their children to suffer from screen addictions.
- 7 out of 10 Spanish children have increased the time they spend online for school.
- 3 out of every 10 kids don’t get outside the recommended minimum of 1 hour per day.
- 29% of children have suffered from poor concentration and bad moods and / or aggressive behavior since the start of the pandemic.
- 60% of parents think their children learn worse online.
- Only 2% believe their child has suffered from ciberbullying during the Covid pandemic
In summary, the study provides more support to the idea that centennials, or Gen Z, are being marked by the pandemic and that it could harm that generation over the long term. Even before Covid-19, screen time rates were increasing at alarming levels, and during the first coronavirus lockdowns they were up 180%. Parents still need to do more to control screen time routines and establish healthy habits online, aka digital wellbeing. Parents should use native screen time controls together with parental control apps like Qustodio to help them create consistent rules across devices.
Parents also need to be more aware of the real rates of bullying online - and other threats that are harder to see in an online environment. They need to teach their children about online threats and how to react to them when they occur, without shame. In terms of education, there is only so much parents and educators can do until the pandemic is over, but Qustodio encourages schools to stay open in person as much as possible and for parents to be extra vigilant to make sure their children disconnect from devices when the school day is over and to make sure their children get at least one of fresh air. Family psychologist Maria Guerrero recommends keeping digital devices in a common room, out of the bedroom, off the dinner table and shut down 1 hour before bed. Your child’s future mental and physical health depends on it.