From school closures to exam cancellations, lockdown restrictions have hit young people hard. Without being able to see their friends, have access to face-to-face teaching or keep up with their usual routine, many children have suffered. A generation that was already considered to be teetering on the brink of an uncertain political, economic, and environmental future now finds itself entering an adulthood in which nothing can be taken for granted, where continuous crisis management is already presented as the ‘new normal’.
Many teachers have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, but even logging on to Zoom for classes has proven difficult for some kids. Poor broadband connections, a lack of technology or a busy household have meant that many children living in low-income households have fallen behind. Outside of education, many parents have reported a change in their children’s behaviour after months on end without being able to mix freely with their friends and peers. Critics of restrictions argue that putting a stop to young people’s ability to socialise, go on dates or gain work experience is having a negative effect on mental health.
On the other hand, genuine concerns about young people’s future prospects can lead to panic. Many are arguing that mental wellbeing has plummeted to dangerous lows, which some might argue is understandable during an often scary pandemic. Questions of the importance of resilience and independent thinking have been drowned out by fears that the pandemic will cause years of irreparable damage to young people. But with groups of rebellious teenagers organising illegal raves and subverting rules to the chagrin of politicians, aren’t we forgetting the youthful ability to bounce back?
In their latest book, The Corona Generation, author Jennie Bristow and her daughter Emma Gilland consider the effects of lockdown on the generation currently coming of age: the demographic currently known as ‘Generation Z’. Join Jennie and Emma in conversation with journalist Ella Whelan for this book launch of The Corona Generation.
senior lecturer in sociology, Canterbury Christ Church University; author, Stop Mugging Grandma, Why Boomer-Blaming Won’t Solve Anything; co-author, The Corona Generation: coming of age in a crisis
year 12 student; co-author of The Corona Generation: coming of age in a crisis
co-convenor, Battle of Ideas Festival; journalist and frequent commentator on TV and radio; author, What Women Want
All of the Academy of Ideas’s online debates, discussions and forums have been free and open to the public throughout lockdown. Any donation – large or small – is greatly appreciated. Click here to support the Academy of Ideas.