NewsCorona consequences for the youngest

Corona consequences for the youngest

Created: 10/12/2022 3:49 p.m

Studies show that the mental health of socially disadvantaged children in particular is suffering from the pandemic.

No, they are not doing well, many families, young people, children and their parents. You only have to ask around in your circle of acquaintances and hear the stories of lost hours in front of the mobile phone screen, lost friendships, unusual celebrations and festivals, missed learning material, abandoned hobbies and the worries and fears of how the war and the climate crisis might continue. And then everything gets more expensive, especially for families with children.

Studies on the physical, psychological and material consequences of the crises, from which the world is no longer able to break out, corroborate the subjective impression. Corona in particular was and is the focus of the considerations.

Homeschooling, quarantine, restricted leisure opportunities and socializing: How have the pandemic-related stresses affected children’s health? This is the key question of a study published at the end of July by Wido, the scientific institute of the AOK, in cooperation with the German Youth Institute. For this purpose, 3,000 mothers of children between the ages of three and twelve were interviewed in February and March of this year.

Every third mother reports there that the mental health of the children has suffered. This affects families with a low household income with above-average frequency. The social gradient is clear. According to Wido, single parents and mothers with a simple education and low household income have noticed a deterioration in their children’s mental health. On average, just under 35 percent of those surveyed stated this, while the rate in this group was 44 percent for single parents and even 51 percent for low-income women.

Grafik zur Belastung von Familien.
Family stress graph. © FR

At least there are bright spots. More than two-thirds of mothers (73 percent) report that the sense of togetherness in the family has grown. “However, the positive pandemic effects, such as stronger family cohesion or the discovery of new, shared hobbies, were noticed much less frequently in socially disadvantaged families,” says Klaus Zok, head of the study in the research area Health Policy and System Analysis at Wido. “A common thread running through almost all of the results of our study is that children from socially disadvantaged families were significantly more affected by the pandemic.”

Just a few days ago, the Hessian Ministry for Social Affairs and Integration published the results of the second survey on the social effects of the corona pandemic. The study is based on a Hessen-wide representative telephone and online survey of 1004 adults with and without an immigrant background. It was carried out in January and February of this year.

concern for academic development

Almost two thirds (64 percent) of people with a migration background report negative effects on their social life. Around a quarter complained that their income and work situation had deteriorated. According to the Ministry of Social Affairs, there are significantly fewer people without a migration background.

“The first part of the study last year showed that people with a migration background suffered particularly from the pandemic at the beginning. The follow-up survey now confirms that this part of the Hessian population is still more severely affected by the negative effects due to the poorer average socio-economic situation,” says Hesse’s Minister for Social Affairs and Integration, Kai Klose (Greens).

This second Corona study also proves the high emotional burden that people are exposed to. Respondents with a migration background feel stressed much more often. It is 54 percent there, but only 36 percent among people without a migration background. At best, it may appear positive that the respondents overall, and in both of the population groups mentioned, are somewhat less concerned compared to the previous year.

The number of unskilled workers in Germany will increase

Concern about the school and thus later professional development of the children remains very pronounced. Almost exactly two-thirds of those surveyed named these concerns. Labor market figures show that they are justified.

According to the Vocational Training Report 2022, the number of young adults between the ages of 20 and 34 without a vocational qualification is increasing steadily – and the dropouts in education due to the pandemic are not even fully recorded. Without vocational training, however, the risk of unemployment is much higher than with a degree. In August, the employment agencies reported an unemployment rate of more than 20 percent for people without completed vocational training for 2021. This is six times higher than for people who have completed professional or academic training.

And the number of unskilled workers in Germany will increase. At least that is the central result of a survey of experts published by the Bertelsmann Foundation together with the German Children and Youth Foundation at the beginning of September. A low level of schooling therefore increasingly leads to professional and thus social marginalization. And it hits children from socially disadvantaged families in particular. In other words, those on whom the crises of the world are breathing down their necks.

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