Kids baked, cooked and exercised more outdoors during last year’s national lockdown than before, a major survey shows.
The University of Auckland’s Growing Up in New Zealand study also found that 10- and 11-year-olds spent much more time in front of a screen than when they were eight.
The research has been following the lives of more than 5000 children born in 2009-10 whose mothers lived in the Auckland, Manukau counties or Waikato DHB regions.
The report was based on responses to an online survey of nearly 2,500 of the study participants in May of last year.
It found that most children enjoyed school less than when they were surveyed at age eight, but 79 percent reported that they had a good time with the family during the confinement.
Large bubbles were associated with happier and healthier confinement experiences, and Pacific children had significantly lower anxiety scores than European children.
The survey found that 67 percent of children used digital devices every day for school work and 95 percent used at least once a week, while 85 percent also played video games at least once a week. .
Growing up in New Zealand, Foundation Director Susan Morton said that overall the results showed the children were quite resilient in last year’s national lockdown, but some struggled.
“About a quarter were struggling to participate in online education,” said Professor Morton.
“We also saw that there were some children who were perhaps having an impact on their well-being, particularly their mental well-being, and that was of great concern to us, especially since this was quite early in the Covid pandemic.”
The survey also showed that some children did not have access to online learning or spaces where they could do their school work, he said.
Those children could be at a serious disadvantage from successive closures, he said.
“Children who were already eight [years old] before the pandemic happened, that was potentially exacerbated by the pandemic, “he said.
“In the early phases, the direct impact of that on their learning was not that obvious, but we are very concerned now that this has gone on for a considerable number of months, even a year or more now.
“We are concerned about the impact this is likely to have on the gaps we were already seeing in eight [years old]When children are 12 years old and about to enter secondary education these things may actually have created bigger gaps. “
Gnocchi, buns and football
The Growing Up in New Zealand study found that most 10- and 11-year-olds were helping in the kitchen at home at least once a week during last year’s national shutdown.
In fact, they baked and cooked 23 percent more than when they were eight years old.
One of the study participants, Emily Rope, told RNZ that the confinements had been an opportunity to refine the gnocchi recipes she made with her father and learn some new ones.
“We started with pizza during the lockdown, and then as far as baking, I like to cook chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cakes, cheese buns for everyone when they leave the meetings,” he said.
Emily said she was spending much more time on technology than usual because school work was online.
He estimated that he exercised as much indoors as he did in normal times.
“We don’t do that much swimming training, but I’ve been doing more runs and things like that,” he said.
Another of the daughters in the study, Frida Pilditch, said she was making pancakes during the confinement.
“I can flip them over with a spatula, but not yet in midair. Since I don’t want my dog to eat the pancakes, I will definitely drop them,” he said.
Frida said her cooking had improved during the confinement and that her next goal was to make sushi.
He said it was much more difficult to learn online than in class at school and he was concerned that the Auckland closure was affecting his education.
“At first it was like ‘oh yeah, get out of school, I’ll play video games all day.’ But it’s getting to the point where I feel like I haven’t worked hard enough and if I go back I’m going to be way behind, but I think a lot of people in my class feel that way, “he said.
Study participant Liam Fraser said he spent much more time in front of screens during lockdown.
“Locked up, I think so [use] a lot more electronics than I usually do, because I don’t do any sports and we definitely watch more movies.
“During the day, I’m on a screen doing my school work, so basically I’m on a screen most of the day and that’s not very good.”
But Liam said he also went out and played with his siblings, something the survey found 79 percent of survey participants did at least several times a week.
“We play soccer a lot and I run, cricket and things like that,” he said.