On May 4, 2020, journalist Geoff Mcmaster published an article entitled: ‘Why COVID-19 loneliness can be especially hard on teens’ for the University of Alberta Folio journal.
In the article Mcmaster highlights the observation that social isolation due to COVID-19 restrictions may be significantly impacting the health of teens, adding to a disturbing trend Mcmaster calls the ‘loneliness epidemic’.
This loneliness epidemic started before the COVID-19 pandemic with over-protective parents seeing the world as a ‘more unsafe, threatening place’ says David McConnell, a University of Alberta occupational therapy researcher. From an early age, children are given fewer opportunities to engage in free and risky outdoor play, which adds to the sense of loneliness especially felt in adolescence.
To get through the pandemic and support the mental health of teens, University of Alberta educational psychology professor Dr. Jacqueline Leighton recommends that teens find a trusted confidant to talk about their emotions to. This can be a friend, parent, aunt, uncle, or a professional at Kids Health Phone.
Read the full Folio article here.