Pandemic: researchers at UQO, documenting the opinions of children

Pandémie: des chercheures de l’UQO documentent l’avis des enfants

Pandémie: des chercheures de l’UQO documentent l’avis des enfants

One hundred children and adolescents will be contacted three times by the start of classes in September.

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May 5, 2020

Updated may 6, 2020 0.35

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Pandemic: researchers at UQO, documenting the opinions of children

Pandémie: des chercheures de l’UQO documentent l’avis des enfants

Pandémie: des chercheures de l’UQO documentent l’avis des enfants

Mathieu Bélanger

The Right

We hear a lot of scientists and politicians since the beginning of the crisis of the COVID-19. The voice of health care professionals and orderlies door as seldom before. The business people for whom the efforts of a whole life are placed at risk are put under the spotlight. Parents who telework while making the school-to-home occupy an important place in the news. That was understood, however, children and adolescents? Their opinion on the current situation is virtually absent from public discourse.

A team of researchers in social work from the University of Quebec in Outaouais (UQO) has decided to focus on the experience of young people from 7 to 17 years of age during this period of a pandemic. One hundred children and adolescents will be contacted three times by the start of classes in September, by professors Christine Gervais, Isabel, Side, Vicky Lafantaisie, and Francine de Montigny.

“We are in a period of uncertainty and it causes anxiety, stresses dr. Côté. What we want to check out with the young people, it is how they believe that it will finish. We asked how they see the next few months. To what do they expect for the new school year in September. We want to explore the positive and negative effects of measures of social distancing during the crisis. The idea is to see how the child or young person is looking towards the future now and let him know to get back on his projections, and his apprehensions and see how it is materialized or not.”

The interviews with the young people are all via video conferencing. The entire sample must have been contacted in the next few days, before returning to class. A second interview will be conducted at the end of the school year, in June, and a third will be held in September. The parents of the children will have to fill out a questionnaire on the health and functioning of their child. The research should allow to develop some recommendations which could enable public Health to adapt its actions and its messages to the young people.

The teen’s anger

One trend that seems already to jump in the eyes of researchers of the UQO it is the feeling of anger that lives of very many teenagers contacted. “They feel like the forgotten greats of this crisis, and it generates a lot of anger in them,” said Ms. Côté. They feel pushed aside, ignored and not heard, so that everything that happens has impacts that are very important on them as well.”

Pandémie: des chercheures de l’UQO documentent l’avis des enfants

The feeling of anger lives of very many teenagers confined.

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Obviously, the parent is the best person to make decisions for her child, but the more this gets, the more the parent has to justify its decisions. “The issue of returning to school is important,” notes coté. The government leaves it up to the parents to decide and it is correct, but it puts the parent in a position where he must announce a decision. If the child is in agreement, it’s going well. But in the contrary case, it can mean a lot of explanation and negotiation. It is a situation that may add to parental distress and lead to a lot of bickering at home.”

Special attention will also be given to these young gatineau residents who may have also experienced floods in 2017 and 2019, or whose life has been turned upside down by the tornado of September 2018 in the Mont-Bleu. “You have to listen to these children because, in terms of factors of risk and vulnerability screening, there are things to document,” says coté.

Le Soleil

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