6. The importance of social environment for young people’s well-being: family, friends, school and other areas of life

spotlight: The importance of family and friends for young people’s well-being during the Covid-19 pandemic

What this is about

For all of us, the Covid-19 pandemic forced us to focus on our relationships with our closest social contacts: our family. We were not able to see more distant relatives, friends and acquaintances during lockdown, instead having to remain in contact by telephone, email or social media. For the youth report, we examined children’s, adolescents’ and young adults’ experiences of this change. Most of them reported that they were pleased with their new closeness to their family. Others found it problematic, as conflicts arose. There were differences: positive perceptions were stronger among young people whose families had a relatively high household income. The lower the financial resources, the more likely the young person was to find the situation a strain. As well as family situation, the Covid-19 pandemic also affected relationships with friends. As personal contacts were rarely possible, young people primarily used digital communication channels to stay in touch with friends. Nevertheless, some friendships fell by the wayside. On the other hand, others became stronger. We present details of these developments in this section.