Camp Australia’s Child Impact Survey shines light on post COVID-19 landscape
The Sector > Practice > Outside School Hours Care > Camp Australia’s Child Impact Survey shines light on post COVID-19 landscape

Camp Australia’s Child Impact Survey shines light on post COVID-19 landscape

by Freya Lucas

February 08, 2023

Outside school hours care (OSHC) provider Camp Australia has released the results from its annual survey into children’s social and emotional lives post the advent of COVID-19. 


Since 2020 the provider has surveyed families and school leaders seeking to understand more about how the pandemic and its subsequent restrictions have affected children, with the latest survey showing that children’s emotional stability, screen time and socialisation are the top concerns for parents and school leaders in the new post-COVID normal.


Almost one quarter (24 per cent) of parents have reported their children’s emotional patterns in 2022 have worsened, including being more easily overwhelmed and more sensitive. 62 per cent of school leaders shared this concern.


Nearly half of the parents surveyed (42 per cent) said their top concern for their children was too much unproductive screen time, followed by making new friends and socialising (36 per cent). Approximately one in five school leaders shared these concerns.

“It’s no coincidence a sense of disconnection and isolation continues to impact our children, and this research helps illustrate exactly what parents and school leaders are wanting to address going into the 2023 school year,” said Camp Australia CEO Warren Jacobson.


“We know socialisation skills are critical for all aspects of a child’s growth, but these insights reveal excessive time in front of screens continues, and children are more erratic and feel less connected despite the end of lockdowns.”


The latest survey, conducted in December 2022, also showed that school leaders wanted more support when it comes to online safety for children, something which has been highlighted this week with the advent of Safer Internet Day


Against this backdrop, Camp Australia welcomed the new Online Safety Bill and the Government’s initiative via the eSafety Commissioner to launch its eSafety Early Years program and eSafe kids program for children and parents.


“Despite the survey being conducted in December, well after the end of lockdowns in Australia, the results suggest there may be lingering negative effects of the pandemic on children,” said leading parenting expert Dr Justin Coulson. 


The research, he continued, highlights the importance of supporting children’s resilience so they can deal with challenging times.


“Most of these concerns relate to children in Foundation/Prep and Grades One and Two, so we’re seeing these issues impact very young children,” he said.


“When children have too much unproductive screen time or avoid making new friends, they can be at increased risk of mental ill-health including experiencing social difficulties, poor academic results and even developing physical health concerns.”


“While we can’t entirely avoid the use of screens in our work and study lives, we need to be aware children are growing up with new ways of working where technology is universal.This is all the more reason to develop a healthy relationship with technology and socialising offline as early as possible to counteract these impacts and become more resilient in the long term,” Dr Coulson concluded. 


Access the survey findings in full here

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