A research review, co-authored by UI Co-Director Professor Emer Smyth and fellow collaborators at the ESRI, finds that action is needed to address the short and longer-term impacts of COVID-19 response on children and young people.
The report draws on existing and emerging Irish and international research on the effects of the pandemic restrictions on children and young people. In particular, the report reviews research evidence in the areas of family and peer relationships, health and wellbeing, education (from early childhood to third-level) and post-school transitions to provide insights into the potential consequences of the current crisis from infancy to early adulthood.
This study draws on Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) survey findings, along with the results of cross-sectional studies such as My World and the Health Behaviour of School-Aged Children (HBSC), to briefly document the lives of children and young people in pre-COVID-19 Ireland, as a basis for understanding the policy issues and inequalities that were already apparent. The report then draws on emerging studies internationally and in Ireland on the impact of COVID-19 on children and young people. In particular, the report reviews research evidence in the areas of family and peer relationships, health and wellbeing, education (from early childhood to third-level) and post-school transitions to provide insights into the potential consequences of the current crisis from infancy to early adulthood.
The report concludes that:
- School closures and the lack of face-to-face interaction with peers and broader family networks are having direct effects on children’s and young people’s lives.
- The impact of the pandemic will be felt the most by young people from more disadvantaged backgrounds and those with special educational needs.
- Parental job loss and the possibility of longer-term unemployment will affect child wellbeing through greater stress in families.
The report highlights the importance of addressing the impacts of the crisis on children and young people, who have been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The report points to the need to address inequalities, support educational re-engagement and well-being, and the need to assist young people whose transition into the labour market has been disrupted.
About Emer Smyth
Emer Smyth is a Research Professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in Dublin, Ireland and is adjunct Professor of Sociology at Trinity College, Dublin. She has published extensively on her main research interests of education, school to work transitions, gender and comparative methodology.