A crowdsourced survey of Canadian parents suggests that nearly three-quarters of participants are concerned about their children's social lives during the pandemic.
Statistics Canada published a report Thursday about how COVID-19 is impacting families and children. The findings are based on an online questionnaire that was voluntarily filled out by parents with kidsup to age 14.
Unlike most of the agency's studies, the survey wasn't randomly sampled, so it reflects the views of the crowdsourced respondents but isn't statistically representative of Canada's population.
The results suggest that 71 per cent of participants are very or extremely concerned about their children's opportunities to socialize with friends, and more than half are really worried about their kids being lonely or socially isolated.
Balancing the demands of childcare, schooling and work was a chief concern for the parents surveyed, with three in four participants saying the issue weighs heavily on their minds.
Nearly two-thirds of parents said they are very or extremely concerned about managing their children's behaviours, emotions and anxiety.
Some parents also seem to be struggling to keep their own emotions in check. More than half of respondents reported concerns about losing their patience, raising their voice and scolding or yelling at their children.
The report suggests many caregivers are turning to technology to help fill the hours, given that there are so few options to keep kids occupied, particularly for parents who need time to work.
Almost two-thirds of parents reported being very concerned about the amount of time their children are spending in front of screens. Nine in ten respondents said their kids use digital devices daily or almost daily, according to the survey.
Approximately 60 per cent of parents said they're rounding out their kids' schedules with physical activity or reading almost every day.
In addition to childrearing challenges, many parents suggested they're having a hard time looking after themselves. Forty-three per cent of participants said they're very worried about staying connected with family and friends, while 37 per cent are concerned about getting along and supporting each other.
More than 32,000 participants responded to the online questionnaire between June 9 and June 22. A large proportion of participants were women who were born in Canada and had a bachelor's degree or higher, according to Statistics Canada.