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Working Paper: Covid-19 Mitigation Measures Among Children and Young People

Published: 22 Jan 2021

Summary of Scottish evidence on the COVID-19 mitigation measures aimed at children and young people

22 page PDF

1.2 MB

22 page PDF

1.2 MB

Contents
Working Paper: Covid-19 Mitigation Measures Among Children and Young People
5. Compliance

22 page PDF

1.2 MB

5. Compliance

5.1 Young people

The Scottish Government Marketing and Insight Unit has commissioned qualitative research with non-compliant 16-39 year olds to explore motivations for non-compliant behaviour and barriers to compliance (August 2020)[18]. The youngest groups (16-17 and 18-24) focused more on the positives of lockdown than other age groups and were more affected by boredom, with older groups more focused on the difficulties they faced. Compliance had reduced as some restrictions were lifted and rules became more complicated, many were confused about the restrictions in place and peer influence was a major factor affecting behaviour.

5.2 Parents

YouGov polling carried out for Scottish Government from 24-25 November shows that 10% of children under 12 did something in the past week that was not within the restrictions / guidance, according to parents. This was a decrease from 20% in the 10-11 November polling. The most common activity outside the restrictions in the most recent polling was meeting with other children in someone's home, other than for the reason of childcare (6%).

Polling from 24-25 November also shows that 20% of children aged 12-17 did something in the past week not within the restrictions / guidance, according to parents – an increase from 11% in the 10-11 November polling. The most common activity outside the restrictions in the most recent polling was meeting with more than 6 people from 2 households indoors (8%) and not distancing at least 1 metre from other people aged 12 or over not from your household (7%).

Polling from 20-21 October, 27-28 October and 3-4 November shows a consistent level of around four in ten parents of under 18s admitting to adapting the guidance to suit their family's needs. During the 3-4 November polling 36% of parents agreed that they were adapting the guidance[19], similar to 40% in the previous week and 38% during 20-21 October polling. See Figure 8 below.

Figure 8 'Agreement with 'I have been adapting the guidance/restrictions to suit my family's needs'

Bar graph showing percentage adapting the guidance/restrictions to suit their family’s needs

Sample sizes: 20-21 October 221; 27-28 October 190; 3-4 November 215

In the 27-28 October polling, parents of children under 18 who said they were adapting the guidance (please note findings should be treated with caution due to small sample size [20]) were asked about their reason for doing so (from a pre-coded list of options). The main reason provided by parents for adapting the guidance was the mental health of their children (41%), followed by applying common sense (35%), to help improve their own mental health (30%) and to allow them to work (26%).

In the 17-18 November polling, parents of children under 18[21] were asked some additional questions around how and why the adapted the guidance. This found that:

  • 19% agreed that 'It's okay for my child(ren) to go into their friend's house if I don't go in with them'
  • 24% agreed that 'I am finding it more difficult to follow restrictions with my children now the days are darker and colder'
  • 25% agreed that 'I am making sacrifices in some areas of my life (e.g. not going to places like pubs and restaurants) so I can bend other rules to allow me and my children to spend more time with friends and family'

Polling from 22-23 September (referring to restrictions before 22 September) found that 26% of parents of children under 12[22] reported that their children had done something that was outside the guidance, most often meeting more than one household outside (20%). 20% of parents of children aged 12-17[23] reported that their children had done something that was outside the guidance, most commonly not keeping a 2 metre distance from friends when meeting up outside of school (14%).

Polling from 1-2 September[24] specifically on face coverings (please note findings should be treated with caution due to small sample size [25]) found that only 66% of parents of 12-17 year olds who go to school[26] were confident that their children will wear face coverings while moving about the school in corridors and in confined communal areas, while 71% of parents of 4-17 year olds who go to school and use school transport[27] were confident that their children will wear face coverings on school transport.

The Covid-19 Early Years Resilience and Impact Survey (CEYRIS)[28] of parents of children aged 2 – 7 included questions on physical distancing. This was an open sample survey and cannot be treated as representative of parents of children of this age. It was completed by 11,234 respondents.

This survey was conducted when households were permitted to meet outside with one other household under physical distancing conditions. However, the physical distancing requirement for under 12s outside was removed towards the end of the fieldwork period for this survey.

Parents whose children had met up with other households were asked a series of questions about keeping their child two metres apart from other households.

The findings highlight the difficulty of physical distancing for this young age group. Specifically, the survey found:

  • Parents and carers of 34% of the children had decided not to keep their child 2 metres apart from people when meeting other households.
  • 76% of the parents and carers agreed that they had found it difficult or stressful to enforce physical distancing measures with their children.
  • The parents and carers of half of the children (50%) agreed that while they had tried to ensure physical distancing was maintained by their child, they had not been able to.
  • The parents and carers of just over half of the children (52%) agreed that their child had found physical distancing difficult or upsetting.
  • The parents and carers of 60% of the children agreed that although their child tried to maintain physical distancing, they easily forgot.
  • The parents and carers of 36% of the children agreed that children did not understand the need to maintain physical distancing.

The forthcoming TeenCovidLife 2 survey discussed in section 3.2 includes questions on compliance with mitigation measures:

  • Compared to before the Covid-19 lockdown, are you washing your hands more now?
  • Are you trying to keep your distance from other people who don't live with you when leaving your home?
  • How often do you wear face coverings on public transport and in shops?
  • People should wear a face covering when entering enclosed spaces (e.g. on public transport or in shops).
  • If you are asked to stay at home because you have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19, how likely are you to stay at home, even if you feel well?

Reporting is expected in early 2021.


Contact

Email: socialresearch@gov.scot