Jennie Bristow argues that, although the costs of lockdowns are tremendous, especially on young people, we should be wary of narratives that frame young people as especially vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic. This framing robs young people both of agency and of the space they need to grow and develop independently. She argues that the unique challenges of both the pandemic situation and its aftermath will require young people and adults alike to throw off a ‘safety-first’ mindset.

Jennie Bristow is a senior lecturer in sociology at Canterbury Christ Church University and an associate of the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies. Her recent books include: The Corona Generation: coming of age in a crisis (written with her daughter Emma Gilland), Stop Mugging Grandma and The Sociology of Generations. She is co-author of Generational Encounters with Higher Education with Sarah Cant and Anwesa Chatterjee.